Red flags equal serious warnings in Sonoma County

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In Sonoma County, a red flag warning looks like bright sun, dry brush, a breeze, and blackened stumps serving as bleak reminders from last year's firestorm.

In this era of TV, radio and the internet, raising an actual flag on a pole seems almost symbolic, but we know the reasoning. "We have winds, lower humidity, temperatures on the increase," said Paul Lowenthal, Assistant Fire Marshall in Santa Rosa.

Hence the fire service on active patrols...and locals with more than their share of fire experience feeling just a bit edgy.

" I could get out of here in 15 minutes," said Sharon English of Santa Rosa.

RELATED: Ready for wildfire app brings fire prep to your smartphone

She lives one mile downwind from Coffee Park and knows the evacuation drill all-too-well. This morning, Sharon posted on social media that people need to take red flag warnings seriously. "Of course. People are not thinking."

As for Sharon -- she's packed and ready to go. Papers, bills, documents, photos, all in boxes. She can load them all, plus her pets, into a car within. Experience is a good teacher.

"Were you prepared last year?" we asked.

"No. But I am now," Sharon said.

For more information and fire safety tips, visit this page.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.