VACAVILLE (CBS SF) — Humidity levels plunged into the single digits and winds picked up early Monday, triggering a Red Flag Fire Warning for Solano County and the Central Valley.
The warning comes amid drought conditions that have reached the extreme levels.READ MORE: 'Why Would Something Like This Happen To Me?' 94-Year-Old Anh 'Peng' Taylor Recovering After Shocking SF Stabbing Attack
“Currently, wind gusts in the hills are mostly in the 25-35 mph range, although gusts as high 55 mph have been
observed above 4000 feet on Mt. St. Helena,” the National Weather Service posted early Monday. “These gusty offshore
winds in the hills continue to transport dry air into our region, and relative humidity values are forecast to drop into the teens across inland areas by this afternoon.”
The Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Cal Fire crews have been preparing for another tough wildfire season over the last few months and now it has arrived. Firefighters aggressively attacked two wildfires Sunday — a 6-acre blaze in Big Basin State Park and a small fire near Vacaville.
Even before rising temperatures turn green vegetation into brown, crackling dry brush, crews began tackling what they can control.
“Our chief of our department has taken an aggressive stance to get those control burns happening in specific areas,” said Cal Fire Captain Chris Bruno, who is entering his 21st season battling wildfires.
The Cal Fire captain says when he first became a firefighter, the season would usually last four to six months. But that’s not the case anymore.READ MORE: House Votes To Repeal Of 2002 Iraq War Authorization, Long Championed By Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee
“With the dryness of the minimal snowpack, this minimal amount of rain that we’ve received, we are seeing that that wildfire season has extended,” said Bruno.
On Sunday, firefighters in the East Bay in the San Ramon Valley carried wildfire gear, even though the area wasn’t in a Red Flag warning.
“You go back a few years, we would still be getting rain right now,” said Battalion Chief Todd Word of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. “If that was the case, we probably wouldn’t be carrying our wildland gear.”
Homeowners were also doing their part — creating defensible spaces around homes in parts of Contra Costa County. They have been cutting weeds and grass down to three inches.
“The concept that’s really starting to emerge is, this isn’t just one house’s individual actions,” said Kate Dargan of California Fire Safe Council. “Communities need to come together. We need community strategy because it’s all the houses on the block, it’s the entire community.”
The hope, as Wildfire Preparedness Week kicks off, is to minimize what could be another devastating wildfire season.MORE NEWS: 'Landmark Victory;' Bay Area Lawmakers React to Obamacare Decision By U.S. Supreme Court Decision
Firefighters faced the worst wildfire season in California last year, as more than 4.2 million acres burned. That’s larger than the entire state of Connecticut and twice as bad as the previous worst season on record.