Forecasts of heavy wind and low humidity have created a situation conducive to wildfire activity this week, forcing officials from the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning through much of Northern California.
The NWS released a map of the fire-danger areas, and most of NorCal was included:
⚠️ The Fire Weather Watch has been upgraded to a Red Flag Warning for parts of the Central Valley, the Coastal Range and the Sierra below 5000 feet. Please avoid outdoor activities that could cause a spark! #cawx pic.twitter.com/8rUuqwJywi— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) September 22, 2019
The forecast was initially a “Fire Weather Watch” but was upgraded to Red Flag when later forecasts showed windier conditions than initially predicted. The Sac Valley/Coastal Range could see winds up to 40 mph, while the North Sierra/Foothills may see winds up to 50 mph.
As a wildfire precaution, PG&E is preparing to shut down power to up to 67,000 customers in Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba Counties.
“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is PG&E’s top priority. We know how much our customers rely on electric service and would only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system serving your community,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E vice president of the Community Wildfire Safety Program.
A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.
During heightened fire danger, CAL FIRE will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires. CAL FIRE urges Californians to be extremely cautious, especially during periods of high fire danger. It’s important all residents and vistors take steps to prevent wildfires.