- Author: Phil McRea, Master Gardener
- Contributor: Karen Giovannini
Updated links and republished Oct 2019.
Many residents in Sonoma County live in or near fire danger. For those who do live in a high fire area, knowing what to do when conditions are ideal for a forest (or urban fire) is essential.
Red Flag Warning
- Sustained wind speeds averaging 15 mph or greater
- Relative humidity 25% or less
- Temperature over 75 degrees F
Fuel Moisture Index
The fuel moisture index is a tool used to understand fire potential. 10-hour fuel moisture also known as Dead Fuel Moisture; when fuel moisture is <30%, it is essentially considered dead. 10-hour fuel moisture applies to grasses and bushes up to 1 inch in diameter. Learn more at NOAA.
The US National Weather Service warning is to inform area fire fighters and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wild-land fire combustion. Cal Fire and local fire agencies all go on a high alert status under these conditions.
The Wind Cries...Santa Ana or Diablo?
The Santa Ana and Diablo winds occur throughout the year, but are extremely dangerous during dry periods (which, in Southern CA is practically year round). Santa Ana occurs in Southern CA, Diablo in the north. Winds come from the east from hot surfaces (deserts) and are compressed and speed up as they head towards the ocean. Learn more from SFSU. Check out current wind conditions at Windy.com.
Here are some things you can do when Red Flag Warnings are issued. State and local news agencies usually announce Red Flag Warning 24-48 hours in advance on TV and radio, so there is time to act on short-term fixes.
During Fire Season
- Make sure garden hoses are hooked up and ready to use with spray nozzles attached; best practice is to never leave a garden hose randomly piled up as it will always tangle – if you want it coiled, coil it in equal sized oval loops with each successive loop offset few inches in the same direction.
- All portable propane tanks (BBQ, smoker, etc.) should be turned off and moved away from your house.
- If you have a pool: in an emergency, a pressure washer can be used to pump water from your pool and should be left in an available location; fire fighters should have clear access to your pool.
- Decks should be cleared above and below of flammable objects.
- Gas cans – for lawn mowers, chippers, whatever – should be moved away from house or garage/barn.
- Cover firewood stacks next to house with a fire resistant cover.
- Make sure cell phones are charged and ready for alerts and within hearing at all times.
- Close exterior doors and windows. Leave doors unlocked. Leave lights on inside and outside of house.
- If you have a ladder, leave it available outside, next to the house, in case fire fighters need to access roof.
- Have all your evacuation supplies such as flashlights and a good portable radio ready to go.
- Make sure your cars have plenty of gas and are parked outside, or garage door is capable of manual operation and all capable family members know how to open it.
- If appropriate, shut off gas supply line at the meter.
- Make an evacuation plan and collect all necessary supplies.
- Clean gutters and roof debris regularly.
- Where possible, install mesh screening under decks to prevent burning material from blowing.
- Move firewood piles away from house.
- If you have a pool, research the special pump systems that are available for fire fighting.
- For more information obtain a free brochure: “Living with Fire in Sonoma County” from fire agencies of Sonoma County.
Learn more about disaster preparation and recovery on Disaster Recovery Resources./h3>/h3>/h2>/h3>/h3>/h2>
- Author: Steven M. Worker
Through qualitative questionnaires and focus group interviews, we analyzed experiences of 6 new bilingual and bicultural program staff, hired specifically to implement youth development programming to reach Latino youth. Staff reported a steep learning curve, with competing demands to build relationships, engage youth, and show results. Lessons learned may help shape activities that other youth development programs may consider in similar efforts.
"Staff emphasized that getting to know the community and building relationships were the most important parts of starting a new 4-H program. Staff identified several 4-H program models they utilized to engage Latino youth in 4-H; these included after-school clubs, SPIN clubs, in-school clubs, day camps, and short-term/special interest programs."
Sonoma County offers After School Clubs and Day Camps when schools are out. These clubs are in Santa Rosa and Windsor. To learn more about these clubs, contact Diego firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about this report, contact Steven email@example.com
- Author: Karen Giovannini
We are pleased to welcome Cindy Kron, PhD as our Area Wide IPM Advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.
Cindy has conducted research on a variety of insects including:
- two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper, and variegated leafhopper
- dissertation research projects investigating the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and their relationship with vineyards
- the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth
- rearing brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies
Between UC Davis and UCCE, Cindy continued her study of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a Research Entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests, and Genetics research unit. She tested additional cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations.
“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders, and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research by identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact.”
When she is not working with insects, Cindy loves wine tasting, gardening, cooking and canning. She's come to the right place for ALL of that.
Welcome to Wine Country, Dr. Cindy Kron!
- Author: Karen Giovannini
UCCE is looking for growers interested in collaborating on a study of vineyard irrigation water use to help provide more accurate usage rates to the Groundwater Sustainable Agencies (GSAs) whose current modeled volumes overestimate actual use based on site variability and deficit irrigation practices.
- Author: Diego A. Mariscal
- Community 4-H Clubs: The traditional model with programs that meet around the community and offer a variety of projects for youth and their families.
- Afterschool 4-H Clubs: Programs that meet at least once per week to deliver programs to youth after school.
- JUNTOS Teen College Readiness Program: Designed to empower students, 8th – 11th grade, and their families. Helping youth graduate high school and reach for higher education.
- Soccer for Success: A recreational level soccer league, created to provide youth and their families with low-cost soccer programs.
- Youth Programs at Local Libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Extended Child Care Centers: Free programming delivered to members/visitors of local community partners.
These programs are growing every year and we need more volunteers to help us deliver the content to more youth around Sonoma County.
The volunteering time is flexible with your schedule and training will be provided to prepare you to be a successful Project Leader/Coach. Teens looking for volunteering opportunities should also reach out to us as they can complete their community service hours with 4-H.
Contact the 4-H office to learn how you can get involved with 4-H in your community!
Sonoma County 4-H Office: