The National Weather Service has issued an unusual December red-flag fire weather warning for the Bay Area this weekend, a move that has prompted many local agencies to issue their own alerts to residents.
Forecasters say a combination of high winds, extremely low humidity and lack of rain in recent weeks will raise fire danger to critical levels.
The Bay Area red-flag warning covers higher elevations throughout the region, including the Santa Cruz Mountains, the East Bay and North Bay hills, Mount Diablo and the Diablo Range.
The forecast for areas above 1,000 feet is for winds of 15 mph to 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph. Daytime humidity is expected to fall to the 10 percent to 20 percent range, recovering at night to about 30 percent.
The alert prompted several Bay Area public safety agencies to issue their own advisories. Fire officials in Alameda, Marin and Napa counties issued a ban on outdoor burning for the weekend. Sonoma County, which suffered the worst damage from the devastating October fires that swept the North Bay, advised residents to avoid outdoor fires for the next two days.