Bay Area fire crews on standby as wildfire threat intensifies

SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — The Mill Fire near Mount Shasta is a reminder that we are just getting into the most dangerous part of fire season.

“Watching what’s happening in Weed right now is a stark reminder of what can happen anywhere around California,” said Santa Rosa Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal.

RELATED: State of emergency declared in Siskiyou County as Mill Fire rages

The National Weather Service has issued an elevated fire risk due to extreme heat expected to arrive this Labor Day weekend. The California Office of Emergency Services has also started requisitioning resources just in case a fire sparks in a high-risk area.

Extra fire engines, water tenders and emergency dispatchers are being sent to counties such as Tehama, Sierra and Nevada.

The East Bay Regional Park District is closing parks like Tilden to reduce fire danger. Firefighters have a plan to make sure this area is covered, if a fire ignites.

“It’s kind of like a game of chess in a sense,” Lowenthal said.

The North Bay has dealt with raging wildfires in recent years and officials know how important it is to get resources out quickly.

The Santa Rosa fire department alerted one crew Friday that it may be called out to Weed to help crews there as part of a master mutual-aid system.

“Departments, again like Santa Rosa, will decide how many resources they are prepared to send to wherever the need is, at the same time making sure we keep enough resources back in the event something breaks out locally.We’re covered,” Lowenthal said.

At Tilden Regional Park, signs on trails alerted hikers about the park closure Sunday and Monday.

“They did a lot of clean-up but, if anything goes off, it’s going to be party,” volunteer firefighter George Serduykov said.

Serduykov is concerned about the heat, the dry vegetation and what may be still to come this fire season.

“This year for us so far has been better than the last two years but the fire season is not over,” he said.

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