October 31, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Cal Fire is preparing for several days of extreme fire weather across many parts of the state, since the National Weather Service has issued five separate “Red Flag Warnings” and “Fire Weather Watches” due to gusty winds and low humidity. Cal Fire has placed additional firefighters on duty to staff extra equipment in the areas affected. ECM has left a message for Cal Fire's media relations department inquiring whether recently closed stations in East County will receive extra staffing and whether any rural fire stations will be closed during these high fire danger days.
“By this time of year conditions in many areas are at their driest of the season,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “When you add in strong winds, it makes this time of year a perfect recipe for wildfires. Even though it is fall, we need the public to understand that we are still in Fire Season throughout much of California and everyone must take extra precautions to avoid sparking a wildfire.”
A Red Flag Warning for a moderate to strong Santa Ana Wind event along with low humidity is expected Thursday evening through Sunday for much of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties. Wind gusts of up to 55 mph are likely with some isolated gusts of 65 mph on some ridge tops and canyons.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for eastern Modoc and Lassen counties Wednesday afternoon and evening for gusty winds and low humidity. Winds are expected to be between 15 to 25 mph with gusts possible up to 40mph.
A Fire Weather Watch is in effect through Saturday morning for much of the Sacramento Valley below 1,000 feet from Glenn and Colusa Counties, down to the Sacramento Delta and Carquinez Strait. Humidity is expected to be as low as 10 percent during the day with winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 40mph.
A classic early fall offshore wind event will develop over the San Francisco Bay leading to a Red Flag Warning from Thursday evening to Saturday morning. The Warning will affect the North and East Bay Hills, as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains.
A Red Flag Warning for the Kern County Mountains will go into effect early Friday morning and last through Saturday evening. Gusty winds out of the east are expected with gusts up to 40 mph along with humidity as low as the single digits.
CAL FIRE is asking everyone to be extra cautious during the heightened fire danger period in order to prevent wildfires. One Less Spark means One Less Wildfire.
Here are some fire prevention tips:
- Don’t mow or trim dry grass on windy days
- Never pull your vehicle over in dry grass
- Never burn landscape debris like leaves or branches on NO Burn Days or when it’s windy or areas where not allowed
- Target shoot only in approved areas, use lead ammunition only, and never at metal
- Ensure campfires are allowed, and if so, be sure to extinguish them completely
- · Make sure all portable gasoline-powered equipment have spark arresters
- · Report any suspicious activities to prevent arson
Last week the North Coast did receive significant rainfall lowering the fire potential from Del Norte down to Mendocino and over to Siskiyou. However, in most areas the rain was not enough to lower the fire danger long term. Residents in those counties are still cautioned to be careful, especially when visiting other parts of the State where conditions remain ripe for wildfire.