Due to increased winds and dry conditions expected in high elevations in Northern California, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for extreme fire behavior starting at 1pm Tuesday and lasting until Wednesday Night.
Fires included in the areas of the Red Flag Warning are the Delta Fire, Hirz Fire, Kerlin Fire, North Fire, Boot Fire and Lions Fire. Winds are expected to increase to up to 40 mph on the highest peaks in the North Sierras, while Shasta County may see up to 30 mph winds.
A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior. It is the highest alert of its kind. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.
The biggest concern for firefighters during this warning is the Delta Fire, which currently sits at over 50,000 acres burned and is still only 5 percent contained. While the fire moved quickly after it initially started, its growth has been tempered in recent days. Officials fear the winds could push the fire into a much larger area, possibly causing evacuations in Castella and Dunsmuir.
Of course, another concern during the warning is the start of any new fires. North Tahoe Fire Officials issue a Declaration to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning, and recreational campfires. Recreational campfires meaning: bonfires, portable outdoor fireplaces, and recreational fires.
CAL FIRE has some tips for fire safety during times of high risk:
- Never mow or trim dry grass on a Red Flag Warning Day. (Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when its not hot and windy).
- Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
- Spark arresters are required in wildland areas on all portable gasoline powered equipment.
- Before starting a campfire, make sure you have a campfire permit and that they are permitted on the land you are visiting.
- Afterwards, ensure that your campfire is properly extinguished.
- Residents should make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
- Clear dead weeds and vegetation.
- Remove leaves and needles from gutters.
- Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.
- Never pull over in dry grass.
- Ensure trailer chains don’t drag on the ground.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
- Have proper tire pressure to avoid driving on wheel rim.
- Never let your brake pads wear too thin.
- Make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
- 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 targets.
- Report any suspicious activities to prevent arson.