SANTA ROSA (KPIX) – Jim Bordner can’t forget that morning in October of 2017 when he saw the deadly wildfires roaring toward his neighborhood.
“Just right up at the end of our street, it was burning and it was throwing fireballs at us,” Bordner said. “It was burning all around us.”
Bordner’s house isn’t far from the fire-ravaged Fountain Grove community . He says red-flag warning days have a new meaning to him and his neighbors.
“We are much more aware of the destructive power of a wildfire, obviously after having seen one that knocked on our door, and I think that the constant red flag warnings are keeping that in the back of people’s minds,” he said.
But this type of fire danger isn’t something we’ve typically seen all the way into November.
“We’re really seeing our fire seasons grow and extend,” said Paul Lowenthal of the Santa Rosa Fire Department.
He said red flag conditions in November are the “new normal.” It’s also part of the reason why Sonoma and Marin counties are bringing in additional firefighters and trucks for these kinds of days.
“The fuels are dry. Conditions are where they typically would be during the summertime, and we’re continuing to get more frequent red flag warnings,” said Lowenthal.
On Saturday afternoon, a commercial warehouse on the outskirts of Santa Rosa caught fire, sparking two small grass fires on the east side of the building.
“One of the strike teams that was already staffed up was brought into this incident,” said Lowenthal.
The additional crews were able to contain the damage to the warehouse and kept the two small grass fires to under two acres.
“That’s exactly why we have these kinds of increased staffing on these kinds of days,” he added.
The additional resources in Sonoma and Marin counties will stay in place until Sunday morning when the red flag warning is set to expire.
So far, PG&E has not announced any plans to cut power to residents those counties.
The National Weather Service issued the red flag warning on Saturday afternoon. It remains in effect for the hills above 1,000 feet throughout the Bay Area until 6 a.m. Sunday.