SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A red flag warning is in its final hours in the Sacramento Valley. Firefighters have braced for flames while conditions are prime for grass fires.
“It went quick!” said Brent Duggins, who saw flames rushing towards his gate. “The wind blew it right up towards the house! You’d turn around and [the fire] was already down the road.”
Afternoon winds riled up the flames quicker than he anticipated.
“Some of these guys are really lucky cause the wind blew it literally right between the structures so you’re talking a house right there could have been hit like that if it was blowing right towards it,” he said.
Firefighters in Butte County jumped into action trying to contain a rapidly moving fire fueled by strong winds. It started just after 2 p.m. on Four Junes Way and quickly grew from 15 acres to 550 acres in just under two hours.
“It took off in these grassy fuels, it took off and moved at a pretty good pace,” said Rick Carhart, a spokesperson for Cal Fire in Butte County.
The fire was soon cut off by a nearby creek but the wind continued to whip throughout the Sacramento Valley. And under a Red Flag Warning, firefighters have got their eyes on the skies.
“We’re fully staffed up,” Carhart said. “we’re as ready as we can be.”
On Tuesday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour registered at Sacramento International Airport. Similar gusts were felt in both Davis and Marysville.
Over at the National Weather Service, senior meteorologist Robert Baruffaldi watched for signs of fire danger.
“You get the north winds this time of year,” he explained. “It hasn’t really rained yet, so everything’s still very dry.”
Strong wind, high temperatures, and low humidity. He expects the wind to pick up in the Sierra tonight but says winds in the Valley should calm down for the rest of the week.
“That’s kind of a general trend that kind of happens this time of year. When we’ll get the strong winds during the day, then they’ll settle down in the evening and then the winds pick up in the mountains.” Baruffaldi said. “We’re just kind of monitoring for any changes at this point.”
The red flag warning is set to expire at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The National Weather Service expects the winds to pick up again during the weekend and parts of next week. Baruffaldi says the best thing for Sacramento would be a little rain to give dry brush in the area a little moisture.