Fires keep crews busy as extreme heat cooks Bay Area


SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — Extremely high temperatures cooked every corner of the Bay Area today and temperatures remained well above normal throughout, Tuesday night. In Napa, it reached 104 degrees but it’s not the heat that’s the only concern.

The Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County forced evacuations and injured a firefighter as it raced up the hill near Redwood City. Firefighters were not getting any help from Mother Nature as temperatures soared into the high 90’s and low 100s.

“This is a very atypical day in San Mateo County,” said Deputy Chief Jonathan Cox with Cal Fire San Mateo Division. “We are used to the onshore flow with the fog that comes in the late afternoon. The thing that concerns us is until we get some relative humidities that go up or some containment that goes around, we feel the potential is still there for this fire can still grow.”

Fires flared up all over the Bay Area. In Fairfield, business owner Shawn Parks took matters into his own hands until firefighters arrived. 

“It kept escalating. It went up quick,” said Parks.

The Santa Rosa Fire department tackled a couple of fires of its own in the heat. 

“We are pushing a lot of resources in the direction of the fires quickly and intentionally,” said Santa Rosa Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal.

For an area that has dealt with the devastation of large wildfires, North Bay fire crews know the importance of getting the upper hand on the flames before winds whip it out of control. 

Fire Marshal Lowenthal adds, “In this particular circumstance, the humidities dropped down into the 20s so this is the type of heat that’s more of a concern to us, especially with the breezy conditions.”

In areas such as Santa Rosa, PG&E has started to put power lines underground and make safety improvements to the power poles. The company has also recalibrated some of the lines to automatically shut off if items like a tree branch fall. 

“Really any improvements that they’ve made that reduce are risks locally are some that we want to continue to see,” Lowenthal said.