Red flag warning issued for Bay Area hills

October 11, 2010 11:56:50 PM PDT
Temperatures are on the rise in the Bay Area, increasing the fire threat. A red flag warning went into effect Monday at 6 p.m. for the North and East Bay Hills.

It is a warning that comes at this time just about every year. Hot temperatures, gusty winds and dry brush have been a deadly combination in the Oakland Hills before, so it is an annual warning fire crews in area do not take lightly.

For the most part, the people who call the Oakland Hills home have learned their lesson. Firefighters say there is a 95 percent compliance rate with laws requiring home owners to keep their yards clear of dry brush and to keep trees away from homes.

Homeowners complying with rules about defensible space are good for the entire neighborhood.

So far it has been a quiet fire season in Oakland and around the Bay Area. Firefighters are hoping the cool, damp summer will keep it that way and that the high fire danger warning will be just that -- a warning.

"We're not telling people not to barbeque off the deck of your home, we're saying be more cognizant of your barbequing," Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief William Towner said.

Firefighters say the current conditions -- the temperature, the humidity, the winds -- are nowhere near where they were during the Oakland Hills Fire, but the warning remains in effect until Wednesday morning.