Winds will pick up during Red Flag Warning

September 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The high fire danger throughout the Bay Area is a concern for firefighters and homeowners who are all paying close attention to the warning.

In the Oakland Hills it is warm and windy so at Joaquin Miller Park warnings have been issued to remind people not to use grills or start fires.

Gregory Ross and his wife Cynthia have lived in their Moraga Avenue home since 1980 and know the serious threat of a Red Flag Warning. They were among the fortunate to survive the devastating 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm that destroyed 3,500 homes and killed 25 people. They say the current weather conditions are similar to the morning of the Oakland Hills Fire.

"The winds were really blustery this morning, so I was concerned about the winds or someone maybe trying to barbecue or something like that," said Cynthia.

Cynthia is right. Most people equate high fire danger with high temperatures and that's not always true. According to fire officials, even though the Bay Area has had significant rainfall over the last few days, the wind has dried out the light fuels in the hills.

"With the low humidity and the winds, we are at a high fire danger and Red Flag Warning," said Oakland Fire Batt. Chief Lisa Baker.

Those conditions are ripe for a fire. But even with those warnings in place, in the event of an emergency, some areas of the Oakland and Piedmont Hills would still be a challenge for fire trucks to get through. The fire danger is prompting officials to post warning signs based on the probability of ignition, the effects of wind, slope and fuel.

"If they want to introduce added taxes, I think that would be a very practical thing to do," said Gregory.

In November, voters will have an opportunity to renew an existing tax that could raise about $1.8 million to address issues of infrastructure, enforce compliance with fire inspection results, education and improve firefighter outreach. It is the price to keep everyone safe and potentially prevent the loss of property and lives.


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