bay area weather

Bay Area Fire Crews Prep for Chance of Dry Lightning

Weather officials do not anticipate that the conditions will bring about a fire similar to the Lightning Complex fires that struck the Bay Area in August 2020

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Thunderstorms with chances of dry lightning might make their way to the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service. 

As mid-level moisture makes its way across the Central Coast and Bay Area, upper-level disturbance from British Columbia will cause a lobe of energy to hit the region from the northwest, the weather service said Thursday. This might bring thunderstorms and chances of dry lightning. 

The chances of dry lightning are low, but it can be a concern for starting wildfires if it strikes near dry brush throughout the region. The weather service does not anticipate that the conditions will bring about a fire similar to the Lightning Complex fires that struck the Bay Area in August 2020.

The early morning skies outside Steve Field's Livermore house lit up by lightning last year.

“Completely unlike anything that we had ever seen,” he said. “A lot of lightning, thunder, but no rain at all.”      

The lightning did spark a fire in the open space behind their home, but Alameda County Fire crews were able to stop it. But this year, fire concerns are even larger because everything is drier.

“The hills, they're all brown, they're all dry. And any kind of little flashfire goes pretty quick. Being this close to sycamore grove and the vineyards, they have a lot of dry grass,” said Fields.

Sycamore Grove Park has actually been closed the last two days because of extreme fire conditions. This is just one of the pre-emptive actions being taken across the region.

Fire departments are also getting ready, in the South Bay, Cal Fire has canceled days off to add more than 100 extra personnel and it's mobilizing more equipment.

(cg: capt. Carlos alcantar / cal fire )

“Two helicopters. Usually we only have one, but they brought in an extra one. And that also carries fire fighters in it too,” said Cal Fire Capital Carlos Alcantar. “And we have our lookout towers staffed, and they are monitoring the lightning storm that's coming in.”

At fire station 17 in Oakland, they're sending fire trucks out on patrol as an extra precaution.

Oakland fire is also bringing in more staff.

"Any type of lightning, any type of spark, any type of ember is going to spread quickly,” said battalion chief Frank Tijiboy of the Oakland Fire Department. “So, it's important that we get on the scene fast."

Outside the fire station, the crew raises a Red Flag, it's fire weather. 

The hope is that people heed the warning and even more, that mother nature doesn't spark any fires either.

For the latest weather forecasts and updates, visit NBC Bay Area's weather page.

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