NAPA (KPIX) — The North Bay is one of the hot spots dealing with extreme fire danger. Firefighters said the weather alone probably would not cause this kind of elevated concern but add the drought and the dry vegetation and any fire can quickly burn out of control.
“When you drive around lower Sonoma, all the fields are already brown and that normally isn’t the case,” said Sonoma resident Alan Brune.
“I’ve never seen it this hot this early so we’re scared,” said his wife, Kim.
The couple spent the early-morning hours of Mother’s Day preparing their home for fire season. Traditionally, May is when homeowners manage the vegetation around their property but the red flag warning signaled the fire season was well underway.
“I have mowed more this year than any other time just because we’re trying to keep it really low. We’ve also gone around to all of our trees as well as our neighbor has and made sure that if we have any branches that are below six to eight feet, we cut them down,” Alan Brune said.
In neighboring Napa, Michael Enfield said he’s ready.
“Everybody needs to be on alert. There’s very little that a homeowner can do on a red flag day that’s going to make any difference. There are some things you can do before the red flag day. We thinned all our trees and got all the dead wood out,” Enfield said.
He added that most of his neighbors near the Silverado Country Club have become fire-wise after the 2017 Atlas Fire, which destroyed many homes.
“The fire got to the gate next to the house. Stopped about three feet from the house, as close as you want it to be. The backyard was destroyed, all the fences gone, the gazebo,” Enfield said.
The 2017 fires also burned close to the Brunes’ Sonoma home but the house survived. The Brunes hope the hard work of vegetation abatement now sets them up to survive another dangerous fire season.
“I do worry a lot about that just because there’s just going to be too many opportunities. If it’s already this dry, it’s just going to get drier throughout the rest of the year,” Alan Brune said.