Mar 14, 2018


Duane Cronk
photo by David Stoneberg, Star

With a sad heart we are posting this notice that Duane Cronk, Angwin Reporter publisher, passed away last month while recovering from heart valve surgery. A Memorial service is scheduled for 3:00pm Sunday, April 22 at Pacific Union College in the Scales Chapel (building #18 on the campus map). Click to see directions to PUC.



These are the final series of stories about forest fires near Angwin that were written by Duane before his hospitalization.


Fire on the Mountain ... "The Big One"
Is the name of a novel, a motion Picture, a song, a plant and a game played by children in South Africa.
In Angwin, however, fire on the mountain is the wail of sirens, fire trucks growling up the hill from St. Helena, and big planes flying low to drop slurry around a family home. It is the picture of firefighters battling against dangerous, primitive forces.
Old-timers say "The Big One" was in 1931. It started on Ink Grade Road and burned all the way to Eastern Avenue. The smoke blanketed the entire village.
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"The Big One" we remember was the Hanley Ranch fire in1964. It blazed 20 miles toward Santa Rosa and eight miles to the top of Rattlesnake Ridge. The college shut down and everyone who could carry a spade went to the fire line. An Angwin woman working in the radio station heard her husband's voice that his crew was surrounded by fire.
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The most recent "Big One" was the Deer Fire in 2009. It wasn't a big fire, but it came close to Angwin neighborhoods. It started at Hairpin Curve and moved rapidly up Howell Mountain Road. Residents of Sunset Drive overlooking the scene watched planes dumping retardant to stop it. And praying. James McDannald had gone to the Market and the firemen had closed his return at Four Corners. The fire had crossed Howell Mountain Road and climbed his knoll to destroy his house at the top.



The Deer Park fire - 2009
The Deer Park Fire in 2009 wasn't a giant fire, but it could have been.
2009 Deer Park Fire Map
It It started at Hairpin Curve (top of the map) and moved rapidly up Deer Park Road (the white line) before turturning toward Crestmont,Drive at the (bottom of the map). Residents of Sunset Drive overlooking the scene watched planes dumping retardant to stop it. And praying.
2009 Deer Park Fire Air Drop
An observer took this picture of a plane saving a house from the flames.
2009 Deer Park Fire Aftermath
James McDannald's house and collection of antique motorcycles could not be saved. James had gone to the Market and the firemen had stopped his return at Four Corners. The fire climbed the knoll above and destroyed his property at the top.