The National Weather Service on Thursday upgraded a fire weather watch to a red flag warning for the North Bay and East Bay mountains, hills and valleys starting Thursday evening, citing winds and a slight chance of thunderstorms with dry lightning.
The red flag warning went in effect at 5 p.m. Thursday and lasts through 11 a.m. Friday, the weather service said.
The first bands of rain moved in the area earlier on Thursday. That included parts of the North Bay and South Bay.
The Santa Rosa Fire Department posted a video of the rain on their Twitter page Thursday evening.
And by night time, there were reports of showers and lightning strikes in the North Bay and specs of rain were seen in the East Bay.
The main concern is lightning strikes that could spark wildfires in extremely dry vegetation, the weather service said.
That’s why Contra Costa Fire Protection brought in extra firefighting resources just in case lightning strikes spark wildfires tonight.
“That is going to include one taskforce of five engines that’s 15 firefighters and we’re standing up two water tenders that gets water to areas where there are no hydrants,” said Steve Hill of the department.
The concern is big in the Bay Area where the hills are dry and overgrown vegetation is ready to burn.
Hill says they have two bulldozers at the ready and authorities say they don’t want a repeat of what happened last year.
“There was a fire SCU Lightening Complex fire your viewers may recall due to those lighting strikes, that’s the big concern tonight,” said Hill.