Update, May 10, 8:25 a.m.: The National Weather Service has extended its red flag warning until 6 p.m. Tuesday, citing “continued dry and breezy conditions,” low humidity and the risk posed by grass and brush that’s been dried out by the drought.

The most dangerous time will be Monday night into Tuesday morning with “moderate to strong” winds stirring up again in the Berkeley Hills. Elevations above 2,000 feet could see gusts above 60 mph.

Original story, May 7: The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from Friday night to Monday morning due to increased fire risk in the Berkeley Hills from dry weather and gusty winds.

The advisory will be in effect from 11 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday and is the first red flag warning of the year as the region enters a drought period after an especially dry rainy season. The last red flag warning was in December and was considered unusual for that late in the year.

This weekend, dry winds are expected to pick up around Napa County at 11 p.m. Friday and pass into the Berkeley Hills by Saturday, when NWS forecasts temperatures will hit about 80 degrees. Those winds could be as fast as 50 mph in areas 2,000 feet and above sea level, like parts of the Berkeley Hills.

Even if there’s some humidity Saturday night, warm and dry weather Sunday could allow for “rapid fire spread on any new ignitions, especially in the grass and dry brush,” the NWS said.

Berkeley Hills residents can prepare for fire weather by packing emergency kits, having an evacuation plan, taking steps to protect their homes and signing up for emergency alerts, as well as being cautious about activities like barbecuing and operating heat sources.

More information is available in Berkeleyside’s guide on how to stay safe when fire risk is high in the Berkeley Hills, and from the city.

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Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...