Red Flag Warning up until Friday in Bay Area

September 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is high fire danger in the Bay Area right now for the North Bay mountains, East Bay hills, Diablo Range, and Santa Cruz Mountains. A Red Flag Warning went into effect at 11 p.m. Wednesday and will stay up until 3 p.m. Friday.

This warning comes after crews battled a brush fire in Burlingame early Wednesday evening, which caused Caltrain delays during the evening commute. There are very strong wind gusts in the area, but firefighters were able to knock down the flames quickly.

The Moraga Orinda Fire District says this Red Flag Warning is for the 1,000-foot elevation at the ridgeline.

The homes in Orinda are enshrouded in dense vegetation. The fire district is keeping a close eye on wind-direction, wind speed and relative humidity.

"We monitor four remote, automated weather stations that East Bay Regional Parks has and four of them happen in to be in our district, in the four corners of our district actually," said Moraga-Orinda Fire Division Chief Stephen Healy.

Healy was a rookie firefighter in October 1991 when a fire in the neighboring Oakland Hills destroyed thousands of homes.

Orinda resident Donald Case was a homeowner in Orinda then and remembers it well. He told us, "We were completely scared, we thought our house was going to burn down, looked over the hill and could see the smoke rising up there, so it was pretty scary."

He says he and his neighbors are diligent about fire prevention, but not everyone is. Case said, "I was riding by on [San Pablo Dam Road] yesterday and somebody pitched a cigarette at the side of the road and it's sitting there burning on the side of San Pablo, so a note to everyone out there -- just watch it. I mean, come on."

This Red Flag Warning is due primarily to high winds. Wind was a major factor in the four-day Morgan Fire on Mt. Diablo earlier this month.

"No open burning, don't be out cutting weeds tomorrow. It's too late. We don't recommend people are out mowing weeds on red flag days, wait until the fuel moisture recovers, wait until it's not a red flag warning and do it in the morning," said Healy.

We are currently in the middle of the fire season. It will be considered over after the first sustained rain.


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