Red flag warning raises wildfire fears among Bay Area residents

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NAPA (TUSEN SF) – Winds howled through the mountains and hills of the North and East Bay early Monday with gusts reaching 60 mph on the highest peaks as red flag warning conditions gripped region and that Pacific Gas & Electric was preparing to shut off power to hundreds of customers in Wine County as a precaution against wildfires.

The National Weather Service said the warning would be in place until 8 p.m. for the hills to the north and east of the bay as well as the interior valleys of the east bay.

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“Mount St. Helena had gusts of around 57 mph at 11:20 pm and they increased overnight,” NWS forecasters said. “Since midnight this site has experienced sustained winds ranging from 50 to 54 mph with gusts of 57 to 66 mph.”

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Meanwhile, in the East Bay, forecasters said the Mount Diablo weather station saw sustained winds of 34 to 43 mph with gusts ranging from 43 to 52 mph during the same period.

Elsewhere, wind gusts of 40 mph were recorded at Healdsburg, 22 mph at Berkeley and 18 mph at Orinda.

Temperatures will also be on the rise and humidity levels will drop as much as 14 percent. Gusty winds, high temperatures and low humidity levels are an ideal formula for forest fires, as the hills analyzed get even drier.

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Orinda resident Sandy Barnett said once she received notice from her city officials of the red flag warning, she made sure her bags were packed.

“When I got the warning of the red flag warning, I immediately went to where I had my bags packed,” she told KPIX 5. “I checked for myself. make sure I had everything in there and I’m ready in case something happens, I want to be ready to rock and roll.

Roger Wood said that if you live in the hills of East Bay you should always be alert during these kinds of weather conditions.

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“There is always the possibility that it could strike here,” he said. “This place (Orinda) is very vulnerable and when you think about other communities that are affected by the fire, it’s scary.”

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric has said it is set to cut power at dawn to customers in Napa and Sonoma counties. On Sunday evening, utility officials said they expected the shutdown to impact 1,225 customers in Napa County and 802 customers in Solano County.

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Customers can search for their address online to see if their location will be affected at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.

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