Red Flag Warning Issued for Bay Area Hills

The warning is in place for the North Bay mountains, East Bay hills and Santa Cruz Mountains

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for the North Bay mountains, East Bay hills and Santa Cruz Mountains because of an increased wildfire risk, according to the National Weather Service.

The warning, which went into effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday and is slated to end at 7 a.m. Friday, was called due to high winds and low relative humidity that will make conditions ripe for fire, weather officials said. Conditions will reach critical levels Wednesday night and peak early Thursday before gradually getting better Friday.

The deteriorating conditions have prompted PG&E officials to notify customers in nine California counties — including Napa and Sonoma — that the company may shut off power beginning Thursday for safety. PG&E on Tuesday started sending automated voice messages, texts and emails to customers telling them of the possible power shutoff.

In a statement, Pat Hogan, senior vice president of electric operations for PG&E, said, "We will only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions to reduce the risk of wildfire."

PG&E officials said if they turn off power, crews will restore power as soon it's safe to do so.

Property owners who had property damaged in the 2017 North Bay fires have filed at least seven lawsuits against PG&E. The suits accuse PG&E of negligence for failing to trim brush and inspect and maintain power lines adequately before the North Bay fires.

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