1st red flag warn­ing points to fire sea­son

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA - By Kel­lie Hwang Kel­lie Hwang is a San Francisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: khwang@ sfchron­i­cle.com

Fire sea­son is un­der way, and the Bay Area just re­ceived its first red flag warn­ing.

The warn­ing from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice runs from 10 p.m. Sunday through 8 p.m. Mon­day for moun­tains at el­e­va­tions of 1,000 feet or higher in parts of Marin, Sonoma and Napa coun­ties.

A triple punch of high tem­per­a­tures, low hu­mid­ity and strong winds is ex­pected to in­crease fire dan­ger.

“Once rain sea­son is kind of over, we head into fire sea­son,” said Anna Schneider, me­te­o­rol­o­gist for the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice’s Bay Area of­fice. “We’re ex­pect­ing crit­i­cal fire weather con­di­tions to be oc­cur­ring with strong enough winds and low enough rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity, as well as dry fields, which can lead to ex­treme fire be­hav­ior.”

Schneider said north and north­east winds are ex­pected to pick up Sunday evening, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph Sunday night and reach­ing up to 50 mph at higher peaks. The hu­mid­ity will range from 15% to 25%, ac­cord­ing to the Marin County

Fire De­part­ment.

Res­i­dents should prop­erly dis­card cig­a­rettes, be cau­tious while op­er­at­ing ma­chin­ery, be care­ful of flames and obey fire bans, Schneider said. Since no thun­der­storms are forecast, any fires are likely to be sparked by hu­man ac­tiv­ity, she added.

In Marin County, open burn­ing and burn per­mits on pub­lic lands are sus­pended. Some high­el­e­va­tion road and park­ing lot clo­sures are in ef­fect, in­clud­ing roads on the way to Mount Ta­mal­pais State Park north of Panoramic High­way; the county says roads will be closed to ve­hi­cles on Pan toll Road and Ridge­crest Boule­vard un­til 7 a.m. on Tues­day. Winds were gust­ing at 37 miles per hour on Mount Ta­mal­pais Sunday evening.

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