Fire crews gear up for red flag warning

June 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
We have a difficult next few days to get through, so fire crews in the Bay Area are on their toes.

It's a combination that's keeping Bay Area fire crews on alert. 30 to 50 mile an hour wind, high temperatures, and dry grass are prompting the National Weather Service to declare a red flag warning.

"It's a big deal. It's a signal to the public that they need to be really careful what they're doing when they interface in the areas outside the city limits," said Captain Barry Stallard from the San Jose Fire Department.

The areas fire fighters are most concerned about are open spaces with a lot of dry vegetation, like Alum Rock Park. Because of the red flag warning, the park will be closed tomorrow.

"We didn't have any rain in March, April, and May. It's been the driest thee months on record in California," said Battalion Chief Ken McGeever, from CAL FIRE.

In the past 12 hours, CAL FIRE has worked several fires in Northern California. They're not expecting things to slow down. That's why they're keeping all Bay Area fire fighters on duty until Friday, when the warning is lifted.

"I think any area has potential for a devastating fire," said Chief McGeever, CAL FIRE.

At a community meeting Tuesday night, in San Jose's Ever Green neighborhood, homeowners learned how to protect themselves, now that fire season is in full swing. In fact, last month's Summit Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, broke out during nearly identical weather conditions.

"Do you have any recommendations for horse shoe type communities in which there really is a limited blocked entry in case of a wild fire?" asked Bonnie Mace, a San Jose Resident.

"Plan your escape, think about what can happen and plan your escape," said Cpt. Stallard to the resident.

Adequate defensible space is also high on the fire prevention list.

CAL FIRE requires at least 30 feet of clear space around a home. If home owners don't comply, they may be cited.


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