Fire concerns over holiday weekend amid excessive heat

Cal Fire and area departments are gearing up for what could be a busy holiday weekend. An excessive heat watch has been issued through Labor Day.

"It’s not a time for any of us to be complacent about fire danger. The worst of the season is yet to come," said Steve Hill of Contra Costa Fire.

Area fire departments say-the Bay Area is currently heading into what has traditionally been considered the height of fire season. Contra Costa Fire is eyeing a forecast with temperatures in parts of the county expected to break 105 degrees this weekend.

"We wouldn’t say not to have that Labor Day barbeque, but use common sense in where you site your barbeque, how you are prepared to extinguish any kind of embers that might come off of that barbeque," said Hill.

Firefighters in the county say they are far better equipped and trained for wildfire season now than they were just three years ago. Meantime, Santa Rosa fire marshal, Paul Lowenthal, says his department has been busy doing fire mitigation work all season, and ahead of this hot weekend.  

"We’re just wrapping up one on Fountain Grove Parkway. We’re clearing fuels. We funded that prescribed fire burn," said Lowenthal.

Area departments credit the public with undertaking their own mitigation work as well, but say this might be a good week to hold off on yard work.

"For us, it’s all about limiting those activities that could spark a wildfire," said Lowenthal.

But Lowenthal says fire safety is not his only concern. The bulk of his team's calls during excessively hot weather include responding to heat related illnesses. So Lowenthal says its important to know the symptoms.

Lowenthal said heat related illness symptoms included, "if you start feeling nauseous, cramping, excessive sweating, that kind of bright colored skin, or it could transition to that dry, clammy."

"Look out for your children, your pets, your neighbors, especially elderly ones, and stay hydrated, stay cool," said Hill.

A number of cooling centers will be opening up throughout the Bay Area later in the week. Check-in with your city or county for the nearest locations and their operating hours.