UPDATE 4:40 p.m. — The red flag warning has been extended into a portion of the Sierra Foothills and Sierra, but has not been extended into Mendocino Co.
WILLITS, 10/5/19 — The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Sacramento and Monterey have issued red flag warnings, meaning that critical fire weather is expected, for much of Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Colusa, and Yolo counties, as well as several counties in the Sacramento Valley (northern Central Valley).
However, Mendocino remains unaffected by this warning — there is no red flag warning for any part of Mendocino County. We spoke with a meteorologist at the NWS to get more details on exactly what this means.
But first, if you’re curious, this link will take you to a detailed map generated by the National Weather Service, which is a branch of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), showing the exact regions where a red flag warning is in effect. These blocks in the map are 1.5 kilometers square, or roughly a square mile.
For more information about the meteorology involved in these decisions check out our article from yesterday:
And here is a map of the whole area under the warning:
In a brief interview this morning, Alex Dodd, lead meteorologist with NWS Eureka, emphasized that a the red flag warning does not extend into Mendocino County.
Hopland Fire Chief Mitch Franklin, who acts as the operations coordinator for Mendocino County, through the California Office of Emergency Management (CalOES), explained Mendocino County fire services have put together a task force that has been sent to Lake County, to be pre-positioned in case of a fire there — due to their red flag warning. The task force includes four engines and a water tender. Franklin added, “As of right now we have a Mendocino County task force propositioned in Lake County — not personnel held on in Mendocino County.”
Meteorologist Dodd added that the only place that there might be some genuinely elevated risk of fire would be at the top of high ridges, above 2500 feet in elevation, for instance at the very top of the Cow Mountain area. There gusts might hit 20 mph, with low relative humidity. There might also be some risk southeast of Hopland and east of Cloverdale.
Here is a map of the area shown by NWS Sacramento yesterday: