By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As Sacramento Fire Department crews raced to multiple fires around the city, they were also battling against the elements on the first Red Flag Warning of the year.

“I could smell the smoke and it was behind us,” said Ken Loveliss.

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Loveliss lives on Bell Avenue in North Sacramento and saw a grass fire spark next door near the intersection of May Street. That grass fire made his Sunday stressful.

“I come around here and it was just a big ball of fire, probably about 30 feet in the air,” Loveliss said.

Others had flashbacks of previous fires in their lives.

“We have lost our home to a fire before and it would be devastating for it to happen again,” said Adam Yonas.

Yonas, a teenager, lives with his mother across the street from Bell Avenue grass fire.

“It probably would’ve jumped the street, to be honest,” he said.

Other neighbors grabbed what they could as flames roared on.

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“We got our documentation and put it in the trunk of my car. We were ready. So, if we had to leave, we would’ve been out,” Vanda Kim said.

Cal Fire is also ready.

The agency said staffing patterns for this Red Flag Warning are in effect. That means all 12 of the Cal Fire units in Northern California have additional bulldozers and engines at the ready.

Cal Fire is also gearing up to hire around 1,300 additional hand crew members to clear out fuel for fires before the heat of fire season.

“Those paid dividends last year in some of our larger fires. And, we’re trying to get out ahead of that this year and see if we can get some of those completed before we are in our peak of fire season,” Cpt. Robert Foxworthy said.

Whether it’s recent rural wildfires we’ve seen like the Campo Fire in Calaveras County or grass fires in Sacramento, people are glad first responders are ready to put out these blazes, especially on a gusty Red Flag Warning day.

“They got here and they went to work,” Loveliss said.

“Glad to see the efficiency of it,” Kim said.

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Cal Fire said that the drought conditions and snowpack levels are concerns for this fire season because they’re worse than they were last year.