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Red Flag warning in the mountain communities poses a fire risk

A combination of gusty winds, low humidity, and above average temperatures brings extreme fire risk
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Red flag warning in mountain communities poses fire risk
Posted at 12:10 AM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 03:10:43-04

"Conditions are going to be very extreme especially as we move into tonight & tomorrow. That’s going to be very critical for us to keep a close monitor on."

Meteorologist Kevin Durfee with the National Weather Service stationed in Hanford, says a red flag warning has been issued for Kern County Mountains through Tuesday at 11pm. That is issued when an area has a combination of very low humidity, gusty winds usually over 25 mph, along with above average temperatures; because together this will pose an elevated fire danger.

Durfee says, "we’re looking at areas that have lots of vulnerable dry fuels. And that’s why mountain areas and the foothill regions are extremely vulnerable and wildfire starts spread, and winds can get funneled through those mountain canyons."

And Durfee urges the community to be proactive and have an evacuation plan in place. He also urges residents to make sure their property is clear of any brush. "That’s just fuel for wildfires to quickly ignite and burn. Also be prepared on short notice to be able to have to evacuate if necessary. One thing I like to recommend and we like to do, if you have important documents to put those on a flash drive beforehand. "

Meanwhile, the City of Tehachapi is also prepared, saying everyone’s emergency plan may look different. But it is important to have those discussions before disasters hit. The City’s PIO, Key Budge says, "making sure you have enough water. making sure you have medications set aside., contacting our seniors, check in on neighbors, it’s just communication and have a plan in place."

He says there are a variety of resources where residents can find evacuation plans.

"Fema.gov has great instructional guides. Our community response team also has those plans, and we have the city as well. So if you would like an outline or a plan of things to have in a to-go bag, you can send me an email or call me at Tehachapi City Hall. I’d be more than happy to share that information with you. September is national emergency preparedness month."

Both Durfee and Budge say to also have a plan in place for all animals. And they also want residents to know that all local agencies are working together during this time.