Soon, the Healdsburg Fire Department and fire departments across Sonoma County will fly flags marked "High Fire Danger" when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service issues red-flag warnings. This new initiative is part of the "Ready, Set, Go" program promoted by the Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association and Fire Safe Sonoma and funded by PG&E.
A “red flag warning” means that critical fire weather conditions will occur due to strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures. Red flag warnings are typically issued when frequent wind gusts reach over 25 mph and/or relative humidity is at or below 15 percent.
The physical red flags that fire departments will display will help inform firefighters and local residents that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.
"This new system will make it easier for us as fire departments to ensure that communities are aware and alert in the event of a fire like we experienced in October of 2017," said Healdsburg Fire Chief Jason Boaz. "it will help spread the word and potentially save lives."
Take these steps to be prepared for a fast-moving or unexpected fire.
- Clear dead vegetation within at least 10 ft. of your home and out of gutters.
- Remove flammable materials (i.e. firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 ft. around your home.
- Ensure that you are signed up for emergency alerts such as Nixle and SoCoAlert, which is used by Sonoma County.
- Have an emergency bag ready with food, water, important documents and other essentials to last 72 hours. Don't create outdoor fires, including in fire pits.
- Ensure your home smoke alarms are working.
- Create an escape plan from your home and find two evacuation routes out of your neighborhood with a designated meeting place.
For more information about the "Ready, Set, Go" program or the red-flag warning system, contact the Healdsburg Fire Department at (707) 431-3360 or Fire Safe Sonoma at http://www.firesafesonoma.org.