Red flag warnings in effect in parts of Bay Area

- Red flag fire warnings are in effect in parts of the Bay Area this weekend, prompted by dry conditions and high winds, the National Weather Service said today.

Areas under watch are the East Bay Hills, the Diablo Range, which runs from the Bay to the Salinas Valley, and the North Bay mountains.

Moderate-to-high north winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected to develop after sunset today, increasing during the night and into Sunday morning.

The North Bay red flag warning applies to the mountains above 1,000 feet in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties. The warning is in effect until 9 a.m. Monday.

Wildfires are especially on North Bay residents' minds because Monday is the first anniversary of the deadly North Bay wildfires that sparked Oct 8. In those blazes, high winds whipped flames into firestorms across Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.

"The winds are not expected to be as strong as they were a year ago," said Suzanne Sims, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, of the North Bay mountains. "Even so, conditions do meet the criteria for a red flag warning."

Recent rains have helped limit wildfire risk, but "even with that rain there are still going to be gusty winds happening overnight and we will see a drying out, especially by tomorrow night," Sims said.

The San Jose Fire Department has augmented staffing in response to the red flag warning, Capt. Mitchell Matlow announced today.

"The San Jose Fire Department is urging everyone to be extremely cautious in all activities in and around the wildland areas," Matlow said.

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