Red Flag Warning Issued in Parts of Bay Area Starting Sunday

"This is critical fire weather, so use caution outdoors"

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People living in parts of the Bay Area destroyed by wildfires in recent years are facing what could be a dangerous start to the week.

Fire weather watches for parts of the Bay Area were updated to a Red Flag Warning starting Sunday, Cal Fire confirmed.

The late Saturday afternoon glow through the forest canopy was a reminder of the night when fire nearly swept right up to the Rudy Gordon family’s home in Boulder Creek.

“There was a fire all the way up this tree and then, the back on this mountain was all on fire,” he said.

That was less than a year ago, when Rudy defied evacuation orders and stayed to create a fire break in the trees on this end of the CZU complex fires.

Now, the Rudy family is getting ready for a Sunday night they fear could bring thunder and lightning and evacuation orders for the entire town, just like last year.

All we can do is be prepared for whatever it is we have to do, but I mean some people like myself will probably stay back – I think if something happens,” Rudy added.

Conditions are looking bad enough that Cal Fire issued a red flag warning for Sunday and Monday.

“We’re concerned any time lightning is coming through and that is really what’s lining up right now,” said Jonathan Cox, Cal Fire’s San Mateo Division Deputy Chief.

 Dry lightning during a severe drought is an almost certain recipe for wildfires sometimes hundreds of them in one night across the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range.

Some of the coastal areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains have gotten a bit of rain and fog, which help avoid fires by keeping some moisture in the grasses and trees. But large areas are bone dry low moisture numbers that Cal Fire says it doesn’t usually see until August or September.

“They’re critically low fuel moisture conditions, and all of the ingredients are in place for a potential for dry lightning,” Cox added.

Cal Fire and local agencies are pre-positioning equipment where they think they could need it most.

Rudy and his family are hoping their so far peaceful weekend stays that way. “It’s been pretty peaceful. So, fingers crossed it stays that way,” Rudy said.

Meteorologist Rob Mayeda has a look at hotter valley temperatures and a chance of lightning in the Microclimate Forecast.

NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda said dry mountain conditions are likely leading to the large scale warning areas.

In the Bay Area, a Red Flag Warning will begin Sunday through Monday at 5 p.m. for mountain areas.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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