What Bay Area firefighters are doing to prepare for fire season and how you can help

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- If there's any good to come out of the horrific wildfires that California has experienced the past two seasons, it's that fire departments up and down the State are coordinating and working better together than ever before to prevent the inevitable fires from becoming major disasters.
A good thing, as the year's first 'fire weather watch' approaches.

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On Thursday, a fire in Contra Costa County tore through 20 acres of brush along Highway 4, near Willow Pass Road.

"Because of these winds, the rate of spread is fairly rapid uphill," said Steve Hill, with the Contra Costa County Fire Department. "It's a good indicator of what's yet to come."

Firefighters worked hard to contain the flames. The fire in Contra Costa County was one of several fires that burned in the Bay Area Thursday and one of many more to come as fire season begins.
"Here in Vallejo, we're expecting hotter and drier weather. We have some anticipated wind gusts-- that's all it really takes to make a fire that we could get out in a matter of a quarter acre and then drive it to where it's multiple acres and begins to threaten structures," said Kevin Brown, with the Vallejo Fire Department.

This weekend, Vallejo Fire will have extra staffing and equipment for the first 'fire weather watch'-- and possible red flag warning-- of the year.

Brown says everyone should think about fire safety zones near their homes.

"If a big fire is coming and they're unable to flee and escape the area, areas that can not burn: concrete, riverbeds, rock quarries, that's the best place to seek refuge."

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Brown says golf courses also don't usually burn and are safe spots during a fire.
The fire weather watch will be in effect from 11 PM Friday to 1 PM Sunday in Solano County.

But it's important to be careful year round. It's estimated that 94 percent of fires are man-made, which means everyone can help prevent fires.

You can maintain your car, so it doesn't cause a fire on the side of the road, avoid using lawn equipment during dangerous fire weather and after 10 a.m., and be careful with propane and hot coals while barbequing.
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