Is the red flag flying?
Summer is here and that means both the Kenwood and Glen Ellen fire departments will begin flying a red flag above the fire stations to alert residents of the high fire danger on days when the National Weather Service has issued a local Red Flag Warning.
A Red Flag Warning is issued to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events that will occur within 24 hours. The type of weather patterns that can cause a warning include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above. A Red Flag Warning is the highest type of alert.
During heightened fire danger, Cal Fire will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on call 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires. Sonoma Valley Fire (including Glen Ellen) and Kenwood Fire District will be actively participating in upstaffing engines again this fire season and be participating in weekly county conference calls where they will receive updated weather reports, current incident information, and determine if fire weather is predicted and upstaffing is needed.
During Red Flag Warnings, residents are urged to use extreme caution and avoid activities like mowing or campfires that might produce sparks.
This year, PG&E may choose to turn off power during Red Flag Warnings. Be sure to have an emergency kit and emergency plan in place. Power outages could last for multiple days, depending on weather. Update your contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts.
When you see the flag flying, Chief Daren Bellach asks residents to remember that if there’s a warning, it’s for a good reason and to pay attention, watch the weather, and be aware of your surroundings and what you are doing. (You can also go to www.wrh.noaa.gov/fire2/cafw/ to see if a warning has been issued.)