Marin, Calif., Fire Agencies Add Staff Amid Red Flag Warning

The “red flag” warning prompted Marin fire agencies to add eight fire engines, two fire crews and more. Marin land managers have also closed or restricted access to parks countywide, including Mount Tamalpais State Park.

by Adrian Rodriguez, The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif. / September 24, 2019

(TNS) — Marin County is on high alert for fire danger through Wednesday morning because of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity across the Bay Area.

The “red flag” warning has prompted Marin fire agencies to add staffing — including eight fire engines, two fire crews, two water tenders and more. Marin land managers have also closed or restricted access to parks across the county, including Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has announced potential public safety power shutoffs in its service area in the North Bay, including Sonoma and Napa counties, but so far none have been planned for Marin.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a “spare the air” alert for Tuesday, the 16th of the year.

“We’re just not taking any chances,” said Marin County fire Battalion Chief Bret McTigue.

The National Weather Service is reporting that highs will be in the upper 90s to 100s. The winds are the main concern, McTigue said, noting that gusts could reach 30 to 50 miles per hour.

“These are the same conditions that we saw in Santa Rosa, the same conditions in Paradise,” McTigue said. “We need to be prepared.”

The additional staffing is funded by the California Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. McTigue said all of California benefits from the extra personnel.

“We do not have an increased potential for fire in Marin County at this moment,” Deanna Contreras, a PG&E spokeswoman, said Monday. “However, we always want our customers to be prepared for a power outage, no matter what the reason.”

Contreras said PG&E has been working with Marin authorities to get the word out on how to prepare, including providing online resources.

Customers can turn to PG&E’s seven-day forecast model at pge.com/weather, which advises its 5 million customers across nine geographical regions on the potential for a power shutoff.

Contreras advises customers to update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours to receive direct alerts of potential shutoff warnings.

All open burning and burn permits have been suspended on county public lands. The areas affected by the “red flag” warning include parts of the Bay Area that are above 1,000 feet.

Mount Tamalpais is closed through 5 a.m. Wednesday. Roads north of Panoramic Highway are closed to traffic on Pantoll Road and Ridgecrest Boulevard. Park-use permits north of Panoramic Highway are suspended, including filming, according to county officials.

The Marin Municipal Water District has issued closures on Sky Oaks Road beyond the Sky Oaks Ranger Station in Fairfax; Natalie Coffin Greene Park in Ross; and the Leo Cronin parking area in Lagunitas. The National Park Service has closed Mount Vision Road in Inverness.

McTigue said authorities are encouraging residents to be vigilant about preventing fires and to be ready in case a firestorm overtakes in Marin.

“Have an evacuation plan,” he said. “Make sure you’ve got fuel, water, food, money to last you a few days. Know where you’re going to go if there is an evacuation.”

Marin officials encourage residents to register for alerts from their local police and fire departments at nixle.com and to sign up for emergency alerts at AlertMarin.org.

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©2019 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com

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