Red flag warning for Napa County could also impact East Bay hills

An air quality advisory has been issued for smoke from Northern California wildfires.

There are multiple wildfires burning in Northern California currently, and the smoke could travel down to Berkeley this week with the forecasted wind event. Credit: CalFire

Berkeley and the East Bay hills could be impacted by gusty winds this week that will primarily hit Napa County, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a red flag warning for both regions.

Fire weather conditions aren’t forecasted for Berkeley specifically, but the advisory covers the Berkeley Hills as part of the East Bay hills. This includes Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, which could experience wind gusts up to 45 mph.

The advisory will last from 11 p.m. Tuesday to 3 p.m. Wednesday, during which time Berkeley and Oakland could see winds in the range of 20-30 mph, according to NWS meteorologist Brooke Bingaman.

Read Berkeleyside’s wildfire guide for safety information

Temperatures and humidity locally will also ward away most of the fire danger. Berkeley will stay around the high 60s and low-70s through Wednesday, and Oakland will be slightly hotter in the mid-70s, with both cities staying around 50% humidity.


The wind event is expected to bring in smoke from wildfires in Northern California, however. The largest one is the Dixie Fire (about 300 miles northeast of Berkeley in Lassen County) which has burned over 600,000 acres and is 31% contained as of Tuesday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued an air quality advisory for potential smoke that could push AQI to “moderate” unhealthy levels Wednesday, but said a spare the air advisory won’t be necessary. AQI is currently in the green, or “good” range.

“The north-northeast winds will start to diminish (Wednesday) afternoon, but then we see another enhancement Wednesday night into Thursday morning,” Bingaman said, explaining that the marine layer will then blow back over Berkeley and the East Bay, offering smoke relief during the day Thursday.

The Berkeley Fire Department unveiled a new fire readiness and evacuation plan for the city this year, prioritizing emergency readiness and — for the first time — encouraging residents to leave their neighborhoods during extreme fire weather before a blaze even breaks out.

This week’s wind event is not one of those occasions, and the city will likely not be impacted by PG&E power shutoffs scheduled for Northern California either.

“We will continue to monitor this weather event for any changes,” Berkeley fire said in an advisory Tuesday afternoon. “Until then, it is always a good idea to be ready for power outage or wildfire evacuation.”

Supriya Yelimeli is Berkeleyside's homelessness and housing reporter. Email: supriya@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: SupriyaYelimeli. Phone: 510-585-8315.