SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Extreme fire danger warnings have been issued across the region ahead of what Cal Fire said might be the worst wind event of the year.
Forecasted gusts up to 70 miles an hour have crews preparing for flare-ups and major power shutoffs.
The Vacaville Fire Chief said he expects to bring in extra staff. Departments across the region are doing the same.
“This weather event could bring winds stronger than anything we have seen this year,” said Daniel Berlant, Assistant Deputy Director for Cal Fire.
Most of the Sacramento region will see wind gusts between 40 and 50 miles per hour. Some parts of the foothills and Bay Area could see 70 mph gusts.
“Don’t let the calendar fool you. Late October really is the peak of our fire season and this is when conditions are definitely at their worst,” Berlant said.
Solano County knows the danger well after fires jumped Interstate 80 near Vacaville twice this year due to wind gusts.
“Fires aren’t supposed to cross freeways, but this is the second time in just a couple of months. And it seems like it’s happening more and more,” said Vacaville Fire Chief Kris Concepcion, about a fire that jumped I-80 just last week near Midway Road.
Cal Fire said the wind event headed our way is similar to winds that fueled the devastating fires in Napa and Sonoma counties three years ago. And possibly stronger than anything we’ve seen this record-breaking year.
“An aggressive initial attack is going to be key to any wildfire that breaks out in these conditions,” Berlant said.
Cal Fire’s plan in the face of big fires is bigger resources. More boots on the ground, bigger trucks and larger aircraft that hold more fire retardant.
“We’ve had staffing patterns where we’ve kept firefighters on duty in anticipation for wind and we’ve had every day dozens of new fires that we’ve been able to extinguish quickly,” Berlant said.
Relentless work with few breaks, so that we stand a fighting chance against what the weather brings.
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