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Bay Area Fire Crews on Alert as Red Flag Warning Goes Into Effect

FAIRFIELD (KPIX) -- Fire crews in the North Bay and East Bay were on high alert Sunday evening as a Red Flag Warning went into effect for those regions at 11 p.m. due to forecast high winds and extremely dry conditions.

The Red Flag Warning is set to remain in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Fire officials say what makes the latest Red Flag Warning even more significant is the vast amount of territory it covers. The strongest winds expected are in the North and East Bay mountains and hills as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Extra crews were ready to roll Sunday night, as units are actively monitoring Red Flag Warning conditions, when a fire is more likely to ignite and spread rapidly.

"It does create a large area and clearly the larger the area the Red Flag, the more chances there are this type of event happening," said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Pierce.

Under normal conditions, brush fires are more manageable. Low humidity levels and gusty winds are primarily driving the latest warning issued by the Bay Area office of the National Weather Service.

Add extreme drought conditions for most of the state, and the pieces are in place for what could be devastating scenarios.

"If those winds catch any fire, it's gonna push and potentially become big. So we want to be ready and there to put if out if it starts," said Cal Fire spokesperson Tyree Zander.

In the town of Woodacre, students and parents gathered for a school event.

One exhibit highlighting the prolific growth of wildfires worldwide, their paths of destruction and relation to climate change.

Residents were fully aware of the Red Flag Warning in effect starting Sunday night lasting through much of Tuesday.

"The information given to local residents is a lot better. I get my Nixle updates, get warnings from my Sheriff's Department like we are in a Red Flag Warning right now," said Forrest Knolls resident Sarah Wilhelm.

With strong winds, come public safety power shutoffs.

Residents on Marbella Lane in Vacaville  have already been alerted that power will likely go off Sunday night or Monday morning.

"We've had so many fires in the last two to three years that it just scares us to death, and we have to adapt to that. And if turning the power off is gonna help prevent a fire, then we have to deal with that," said Vacaville resident Tammy Mattson.

So far this year, just under 2.5 million acres have burned across the state.

That's a lot less than the record over four million acres that burned in 2020, but there is still a lot of time left before wildfire season ends, typically in November.

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