DUBLIN (KPIX) -- With a Red Flag Warning covering much of the East Bay, fire departments are trying to grab everyone's attention.
The Alameda County Fire Department opened the first Red Flag event of the year with a flag-raising and a massive inspection operation.
"At the yard, at all of our fire stations, we're actually getting ready for wildland season," said Capt. Gary Owens with Alameda Fire. "Our wildland season, as well as Cal Fire's, is supposed to start Monday I believe."
At about that same time Saturday morning, a fire was burning near Benicia. Giles Porter, who lives nearby in Pacheco, got a familiar, sinking feeling as the smoke wafted toward his home.
"As soon as I smelled something, the first thing I thought was 'oh boy, here we go again.' Another whole season worth of fire smell," Porter said. His home in Pacheco falls under the red flag warning and he says he didn't think much of fire risk here until the past several years.
There's built-in risk now. It's all over," Porter said.
"I think everybody needs to be more aware that this is becoming normal," said Alameda County Fire battalion chief Kent Carlin.
That was the other message with the flag: start preparing now for what might be a long season.
"You know, having wildland season start -- and responses already happened as early as they have this year -- it's definitely something that we need to prepare for," Capt. Owens said.
The Benicia blaze burned about 45 acres before crews contained it Saturday afternoon.
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