Red flag warning issued for Bay Area, power shutoffs planned

Photo of a map of future (10/25) planned power outages in Berkeley
PG&E/Courtesy
PG&E issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff alert, which will impact sections of the Berkeley Hills from 4 p.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday.

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An email from Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín announced that a red flag warning has been issued for the Bay Area beginning Sunday morning.

The email, which was sent Friday, noted that intense winds are expected throughout the Bay, and the warning will last from Sunday at 11 a.m. to Tuesday at 5 a.m. In addition, the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Berkeley beginning 4 p.m. Sunday, with gusts up to 60 mph overnight, and a red flag warning for the East Bay Hills and interior valleys from 11 a.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to an AC Alert.

Berkeley residents in Fire Zones 2 and 3 should consider relocating during the high wind event, according to the alert.

“Current forecasts project winds in the region to be as strong or stronger than those present during 2019’s devastating Kincade Fire and the 2017 wine country fires,” the email states. “Combined with record-low moisture levels, these winds are expected to create the most dangerous fire weather Berkeley has seen so far this year.”

The wind will create “extreme fire danger” due to a combination of high winds, low humidity and dry vegetation, according to an email from Berkeley City Councilmember Susan Wengraf.

In light of this, PG&E issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff alert, which will impact sections of the Berkeley Hills from 4 p.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday.

The city of Berkeley has placed additional police patrols and fire resources in the Berkeley Hills, Arreguín added in his email. Strike teams will be stationed throughout Alameda County to respond in the event of a fire, according to the email from Wengraf.

A tweet from the city of Berkeley also urged residents to review their evacuation plans and be ready to leave if an evacuation is ordered in an AC Alert.

To prepare for possible evacuations, the email from Wengraf urged residents to prepare go bags, which include essential items. Residents experiencing possible power shutoffs were encouraged to stock up on batteries, prepare plans to store or take medications or medical treatments that require power and charge all devices, according to Wengraf’s email.

Before the high winds begin, Berkeley Hills residents should consider going to hotels or the homes of friends and family, the AC Alert added.

Waste, recycling and compost pickup in the Berkeley Hills will be suspended Monday because of strong winds and fire danger, with services resuming Tuesday if conditions improve, according to the alert.

“Especially during high winds, wildfires can spark, spread, and change directions rapidly,” the alert states. “Fallen branches and trees may block roads. The best way to stay in control and reduce the risk to your household is to leave before a fire starts.”

Sebastian Cahill is a deputy news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.