Cal Fire, NWS: Potential for Wildfires This Weekend

SACRAMENTO -- Friday will be the first day of a fire weather watch from the National Weather Service in Sacramento but already firefighters have responded to flames racing across grassland in the city’s Rail Yards.

The Sacramento Fire Department says one-third of an acre burned. While they could not determine the exact cause, witnesses reported seeing homeless in the area as the blaze started.

“It only takes 12 to 24 hours, even with the precipitation that we just had, the rain, to dry out those what we would call the smaller fuels,” said Cal Fire Deputy Director Michael Mohler.

Thursday, Cal Fire announced what started one of two fires that later combined to make up last year’s Mendocino Complex Fire. It burned through Lake, Mendocino, Colusa and Glen counties.

“The largest acreage wise fire in California history,” Mohler told FOX40.

Investigators determined a rancher was hammering in a post, causing sparks that led to the fire.

“It was the type of metals that came in contact that sparked a fire,” Mohler said. “Horrible tragedy, complete accident, but then we saw what it caused.”

It’s those type of accidents Cal Fire is warning people to avoid this weekend. They include activities such as mowing, smoking outside and using fireworks, which all could lead to devastation, so could vehicles dragging towing chains.

Pacific Gas and Electric is also keeping a close eye on the weather this weekend and may proactively shut off power due to fire danger concerns.

“At this time, it doesn’t meet our threshold for shutting off the power for the Public Safety Power Shutoff program. But we are continuing to monitor and would update customers should anything change,” said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo.

Cal Fire stresses the warnings should be taken very seriously.

“These should be like tornado warnings in the Midwest or hurricane warnings on the East Coast,” Mohler said. “Talk about it with your family, understand what that means and monitor the weather conditions.”

PG&E will be holding several town hall meetings in areas where they could be turning off the power this summer. Thursday night there will be one at the Civic Center in Jackson at 6. Click here to learn more about future PG&E open houses, which will all be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

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