Red Flag warning begins Saturday night through Sunday morning in the North Bay Hills
MOUNT TAMALPAIS, Calif. (KTVU) - A Red Flag warning for fire danger will be in effect Saturday night through Sunday morning at higher elevations in the North Bay.
Due to heat, low humidity and wind, PG&E is also warning it may also de-energize some areas of Butte, Plumas, and Yuba Counties Saturday.
While the Bay Area has not been alerted to potential shutdowns, the weather conditions will cause fire crews to staff-up.
"Our seasonal firefighters have been held on for 24 hours shifts," said Marin County Fire Department Captain Capt. John Payne. "They were on for 12, now they're being held for 24 hours, probably for the next few days."
Along with the extra hands, red flag conditions bring a sense of urgency, not limited to the peaks in question.
"Just because there's a fire a mile away doesn't mean the wind can't carry an ember that mile," said Payne. "It can start something at your house even though you think you're in a safe spot."
Sonoma County survivors recall it was also a Red Flag night when the devastating firestorm erupted two years ago, almost to the day.
Even those who have moved in to rebuilt homes experience anxiety when the conditions reoccur.
"You kind of flash back to that evening," said Coffey Park homeowner Robert Salcido. "It's the same thing if I smell smoke or smell a grass fire around here, I get nervous and start to look around."
At a Fountain Grove Winery that burned in the Tubbs Fire, the owner is rebuilding in the same location.
"Definitely when the winds come up I get that feeling that I had the night of the fire," said Sonia Byck-Barwyck of Paradise Ridge Winery.
While it's daunting to hear of the high fire risk, she sees improvements since October 2017.
"I feel like we're better prepared, our community is better prepared, and if it did happen again, there would be more resources to stop it sooner," said Byck-Barwyck.
Cal Fire confirms there are substantially more resources organized and pre-positioned during current Red Flag periods.
"That way they are there if we need them we can grab them and if not we were prepared, and we can be thankful nothing happens," said Battalion Chief Aaron Latta of Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit.
Speaking from the St. Helena headquarters, he noted most wild land fires are human-caused, usually accident, negligence or equipment use.
"We've had several fires in this unit from exactly that," said Latta. "For example, a malfunction in the trailer towing a boat, they pulled over into the dry grass and next thing you know we've got a fire."
Marin County firefighters remember another instance: the Mt. Vision fire that destroyed 45 homes in Inverness.
It started October 3, 1995 and burned more than 12,000 ares over two weeks. It was started by an illegal campfire that wasn't completely put out.
For the public, red flag should signal caution and preparation.
"I have some clothes, toiletries, and a first-aid kit," said Alexis Halstenson, showing a backpack filled with essentials.
Halstenson lives on San Rafael Hill, which has had some brush fires in recent years, caught while small, but still scary.
She says packing - and almost evacuating - left an impression.
"It made me keep my bag packed this year, and I was impressed with my neighborhood, the way everyone got ready and knocked on everyone's doors."
The Red Flag period runs from 8 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.