Windy and dry conditions over the weekend led to a very early Red Flag Warning being called in the North Bay, and two small brush fires around the Bay Area. But a slightly more significant fire that actually got named broke out on Sunday in the CZU Lightning Complex burn zone, inside Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
Dubbed the Basin Fire, the wildfire began shortly after noon on Sunday, and by 2 p.m. Cal Fire CZU said that it was being kept at under an acre. But as the Chronicle reports, the fire continued to grow before it was fully contained Sunday night, and scorched a total of seven acres in the area of Hihn Hammond Truck Trail, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
LATEST: Firefighters have made ground access to the #BasinFire. Thanks to @BoulderCreekFD, Ben Lomond Fire, and @santacruz_fire (providing a water tender). The fire is holding at 3/4 acres. Ground resources have been making their way in, as it is very difficult access. #CaWx pic.twitter.com/kZI5xWomjB— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) May 2, 2021
Big Basin Redwoods State Park remains closed to the public since suffering damage during the CZU Lighting Complex fires last August. Most of the park's ancient trees survived the flames, but the park's facilities were heavily damaged, including the historic park's lodge headquarters that dated to the early 20th century. Opened in 1902, Big Basin is California's oldest state park.
Larger fires that broke out over the weekend are still burning in El Dorado County (the Salmon Fire), and San Diego County (the Southern Fire). And the Campo Fire, burning in Calavares County, broke out Thursday and is now 90% contained, after burning 160 acres.
Solano County saw a brush fire on Sunday that broke out not long after a Red Flag Warning had been issued. And another small fire burned Sunday, fed by strong winds, near the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station in eastern Contra Costa County.
"The experts are saying the fuels in the area are where they normally are in July," said Vacaville Fire Chief Kris Concepcion, speaking to ABC 7. "They are dried out to the point that we could potentially see fires today like we would ordinarily see in July."
Cal Fire Director Thom Porter put out a news release on Sunday, and suspended all backyard burns in Santa Cruz County.
"The potential is great for the dry, hot weather that fueled the massive fires over the last few years will return again this year, so it is up to the public to be ready," Porter said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor, meanwhile, moved most of the Bay Area into "extreme drought" status as of last week. And it's anybody's guess when and where the first major fire of the season will strike.
The Alameda County Fire Department, which serves unincorporated parts of the county along with the cities of San Leandro, Emeryville, Dublin, Union City, and Newark, announced that it will be hoisting fire weather flags at all of its stations starting this month, in an effort to raise public awareness of Red Flag Warnings.