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Sonoma County Gazette
Red Flag Warnings will increase community awareness during critical wildfire weather conditions
Red Flag Warnings will increase community awareness during critical wildfire weather conditions

Local Fire Departments to Fly Flags
to alert Community of Red Flag Warnings

Community awareness
during critical wildfire weather conditions

Jul 24, 2019
by Vesta Copestakes


Soon, fire departments in Sonoma County will fly red flags marked “High Fire Danger” when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service issues red flag warnings. This new initiative is part of the READY,SET, GO!  Program promoted by the Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association and Fire Safe Sonoma, and funded by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

A “red flag warning” means that critical fire weather conditions will occur due to strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures. Red flag warnings are typically issued when frequent wind gusts reach over 25 mph and/or relative humidity is at or below 15 percent. The physical red flags that fire departments will display will help inform firefighters and local residents that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.

"This new system will make it easier for us as fire departments to ensure that communities are aware and alert in the event of a fire like we experienced in October of 2017," Fire Chief Jason Boaz of Healdsburg Fire Department said, "it will help spread the word and potentially save lives."

If you see a red flag flying at a nearby fire station, take these steps to be prepared for a fast-moving or unexpected fire.

• Clear away dead vegetation within at least 10 ft. of your home and out of gutters. Remove flammable materials (i.e. firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 ft. around your home.

• Ensure that you are signed up for emergency alerts, i.e. SoCoAlert and Nixle.

• Have an emergency bag ready with food, water, important documents and other essentials designed to last 72 hours. Do not engage in any outdoor burning, including in fire pits.

• Ensure your home smoke alarms are working.

• Create an escape plan from your home and find two evacuation routes out of your neighborhood with a designated meeting place.

For more information about the READY, SET, GO! Program or the Red Flag Warning System, contact Fire Safe Sonoma at,  or your local fire department.


Forestville Fire Protection District

Engineer Franceschi and girlfriend Haley. Forestville Fire District.Please join us in congratulating Engineer’s Charles (Chuck) Franceschi and Spencer Hansen on their official badge pinning July 9th. We can’t say enough good things about these two who have both excelled since starting full-time with the Department. Since Engineer Franceschi’s hire date he has participated in 3 code saves (saving a life through CPR) and responded to over 60% of the Departments 900 calls over this last year.

Engineer Hansen and mom Elise. Forestville Fire District.

Engineer Hansen has also participated in 3 Code Saves and responded to over 70% of the Departments 900 calls. They each have logged over 1200 additional hours helping both our Community and State on behalf of the Department. We call that an impressive start for both careers!

After the October 2017 wildfire, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors proposed and adopted Ordinance 13A, which is a Vegetation Management Ordinance to help prepare homes for wildfires. There are requirements that will help increase the survivability of your home during a fire. We have inspected 75 homes so far in the Champs de Elysees neighborhood. Approximately 90% of the inspected homes needed action, these homes will be re-inspected after 30 days, if no action has been taken the property owners will have 15 days to comply before the case is turned over to the County for action. We urge everyone to properly prepare their homes and properties, fire season has started, there is not time to waste.

The Forestville Firefighters Association is having its 69th annual fundraiser in order to raise funds to purchase much needed fire and rescue equipment to better serve the community. The tickets for this drawing are only $5 each or 6 for $25. The drawing will be held at 5pm on September 2nd, 2019. 

1st Prize  – 7 day trip to Hawaii for two (maximum $1,500.00)

2nd Prize  – Apple IPAD air

3rd Prize  – $250.00 Forestville Dining Package

4th Prize  – Garmin Nuvi GPS

Please contact the station if you wish to purchase tickets and support your Firefighters (707) 887- 2212


Graton Fire

New Graton Firefighters

Standing Tall — 4 new firefighters complete Graton Fire Academy.

Congratulations to our four newest firefighters! 

• Firefighter Kyle Bartlett

• Firefighter Jenna Dunbar

• Firefighter Ryan Fernandez

• Firefighter Amanda Roy

They dedicated over 100 hours to complete our academy. Huge thanks to Assistant Chief Robert Sabrowsky and all our firefighters who volunteered their time to help with training. Watch for them as they respond to emergencies this summer!


Bodega Bay

BBFPD is pleased to announce that on July 16, Firefighter/Paramedic Grant Head was sworn in and given his badge. Grant is one of 3 new paramedics we are hiring pursuant to funding granted by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. We will now have 4 staff members on duty on each shift; they are supplemented by our volunteer corp. The Supervisors efforts, especially those of 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, have allowed us to better protect the residents of and visitors to the beautiful Sonoma Coast. 

The Bodega Bay Firefighters Association thanks all who attended our Pancake Breakfast on July 6. Your generous contributions will allow us to provide humanitarian aid, and scholarships to our community and to help purchase equipment needed to better serve you. Special thanks to the merchants and services that donated prizes for our very successful raffle. We deeply appreciate the support.

With the support of the newly adopted Vegetation Management Program (Defensible Space Inspections) from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, BBFPD Fire Prevention Officer Jim Levy was able to inspect 240 parcels in and around Bodega Bay. This new program is not only supported with reimbursements for staff time, it also offers the weight of Permit Sonoma-Fire Prevention Division to abate problem parcels.

BBFPD is seeking interested persons for fill the recent Board vacancy created by the resignation of Director Pickton. Interested persons are asked to send a letter of interest to the Bodega Bay Fire Dist. PO Box 6, Bodega Bay, Ca 94923. Alternatively, you can reach us online at  via our “contact us” tab.

Bodega Volunteer Fire Department

A message from BVFD Board President, summer 2019: 

Greetings to all members and residents of the greater Bodega area. This year has seen the beginning of the substantial changes I talked about last year. Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services has virtually closed as a County Department. County Emergency Management Division is still in existence and has taken greater responsibility of emergency coordination for all Sonoma County emergencies in lieu of Fire and Emergency Services closing. Volunteer Fire Companies (VFC’s) that are responsible for County Service Area 40 (CSA 40) are now a part of North Bay Fire (NBF) (formally SCVFAC or Volunteer Association). Bodega Volunteer Fire Dept has joined with NBF to provide services to CSA 40.  The County has signed an agreement with NBF to take over the volunteer responsibilities of Sonoma County Fire.  NBF is also in the process of coordination (signing contract) with Gold Ridge Fire Protection District to provide many but not all services that were formally provided by County Fire. 

All these changes are the ongoing goal for eventual consolidations or contracts of CSA 40 VFC’s into existing Fire Protection Districts or other entities.  These changes will take place over the next few years. The new contract with Sonoma County will last for 2 years starting June 30, 2019 and ending July 1, 2021.  If consolidation or other contracts has not taken place within that time frame, the contract should continue until it does.  We are still as strong as ever and hopefully all these changes will enhance our ability to serve our local community and Sonoma County.  This has not been an easy task for sure. After about 5+ years of meetings, reports, commissions, committees and other venues we have come to this transition stage.  This might all seem complicated because it is.  Many individuals and various other entities have been involved here.  Our main mission has not changed, it is to serve the Greater Bodega Area and the people who have supported us for many years.  We are prepared and committed to keep on doing just that!   

The new fiscal year begins on July 1, and dues are due at that time. Please support BVFD with your $50 annual donation as you have for many years. Anyone can be a member and support our department. You can find a due form on our website.

Thanks again for all the great support from our Community.

Bill Newman, President, Bodega Volunteer Fire Department.




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