Forecasters from the National Weather Service have issued a red flag warning beginning Thursday night for the Sacramento Valley and adjacent Northern California foothills due to high fire danger from gusty winds and low humidity levels that are expected to last through Saturday.
The NWS office in Sacramento says the warning will be in effect from 11 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Saturday and supersedes the fire weather watch issued the day before. The warning is for elevations below 2,000 feet where “wildland fuels ... are generally near or below the seasonal average and susceptible to rapid spread of fire,” the warning said.
The highest potential for valley wind gusts will be Saturday in the western Sacramento Valley, forecasters said. Winds are expected to be from the north between 10 and 20 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.
The warnings affect fire zones 213, 215, 216, 217, 263, 264, 266 and 279. Those areas cover Shasta, Butte, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, Lake, Yuba, Sutter, Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties, as well as western portions of El Dorado, Placer, Nevada and Sierra counties and eastern portions of Mendocino and Trinity counties.
Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean told The Sacramento Bee last week that there’s a “very strong correlation” between large wildland fires and red flag warnings, which serve as an important tool to heighten awareness and avoid complacency.
McLean urged the public to take great caution, noting that the state’s biggest fire, the Ranch Fire, “only took one spark to start.”