Cal Fire Firefighters at the Ready With Dry Lightning in the Forecast

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AUBURN -- Red flags were up across Nevada County Wednesday, a constant reminder of the dangers neighbors face.

“I think we’re as ready as we’re going to be,” said neighbor Tom Vallee.

Vallee’s home sits next to a heavily wooded area.

“Everybody weed wacks. The houses are all fire-proofed and fire-hardened up here,” Vallee told FOX40.

But with the National Weather Service warning of critical fire weather, Vallee said he knows he needs to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

“We’ll see what happens. I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

The forecast calls for dry lightning across Northern California.

“Winds, temperatures and humidities,” said Cal Fire Chief Mike Mohler. “And then when those come together along with dry lightning that is, unfortunately, the recipe for the start of a large fire.”

Cal Fire is beefing up staffing just in case. Hundreds of extra firefighters have been stationed across the state, like in Auburn, where Station 10 has three extra engines on duty.

“With lightning strikes and fires that come from lightning, we could get multiple starts across the area,” said Jim Hudson, Cal Fire’s assistant chief for the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit. "It's more resources to respond.”

Officials are reminding neighbors to have a go bag ready with clothes, medications and important documents just in case they need to leave in a hurry.

“It starts with protecting your property and calling in anything you see if there is a strike and small smoke out in the forest,” Hudson said.

Neighbors like Vallee said they will be watching closely and praying the warning stays just a warning.

“We’re hoping that we’re ready,” Vallee said. “It’s a good neighborhood, everybody looks out for everybody.”

The extra crews in Nevada County plan to stay on at least through the night but they’ll be watching the weather patterns closely.

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