The Bay Area at Risk of Massive Wildfire Amid Gusting Winds

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The San Francisco Bay Area is currently experiencing a cold front that is passing through, bringing with it gusty winds amid the dry season of the region on Sunday and forcing officials to issue a red flag fire warning.

Red Flag Warning

On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning across the region that would take effect from 11:00 p.m. on Sunday until 5:00 p.m. on Monday. In its latest forecast, the weather service said the North and East Bay hills would experience Northeast winds just before midnight, increasing in strength overnight until Monday and extending to most of the Bay Area.

Forecasters said that while the most potent winds would remain in the hills, the coastline from Sonoma to San Mateo could experience some of the strong gusts. Experts anticipated winds to reach up to 45 mph on Monday and blasts in the hills of about 60 mph.

The weather service said winds would have speeds between 15 to 25 mph and could gust up to 45 mph at an altitude of about 1,000 feet. Forecasters added that Mt Saint Helena, Mount Diablo, and Mt Tamalpais would have local gusts of 60 mph winds.

The weather service’s forecasts would join the San Francisco Bay Area’s dry season caused by drought conditions. The combination of factors has left the hills full of tinder-dry fuel.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released this week noted how Napa, Solano, and Lake counties were seeing severe drought conditions. Officials have extended the San Francisco Bay Area’s reminder to a severe drought status.

Drought conditions

On Monday, the National Weather Service posted on its Twitter that the next seven to ten days would be arid. The majority of the western parts of the region would remain under hot weather conditions. The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has reported 4.47 inches of rain since January 1, seeing a reduction of 12.58 inches from the usual amount, CBS Local reported.

About 132,000 customers of PG&E across 15 counties and five tribal communities on Friday had been given notification of a possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Officials expect the number to go down to about 92,000 on Saturday. Additionally, the company would once again reduce the affected customers on Sunday down by 8,500 customers in the Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties.

In the Napa, Lake, and Sonoma counties, about 2,500 customers were removed from the list of those affected by the PSPS. However, no counties in the Bay Area were added to the revised list that PG&E released on Sunday.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.