Thunder and lighting that passed through some Bay Area spots on Friday night prompted red-flag fire warning and led to limited-use conditions at many parks and open spaces areas, including Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County.
By 11 a.m. Saturday, the Marin County Fire Department lifted the red-flag conditions and allowed normal use to resume, according to Battalion Chief Mike Giannini.
“We advise the parks that we’re not extending the warning past 11, and then it’s up to them to make a determination from there,” he said.
The National Weather Service said low humidity and high winds prompted dangerous conditions and caused the red-flag warning. There were lightning strikes in the East Bay and South Bay hills and isolated storms in the Santa Cruz mountains, according to the weather service. A strike team from Marin County Fire was sent to the East Bay on Friday night.
“We had a scenario where we had the potential need to take precautions,” Giannini said. “During the summertime, we want everybody to be diligent and especially aware of the threat for wildfire, not just on the mountain but really everywhere in Marin.”
Some roads were closed in rural areas of Mt. Tam State Park and West Marin and all special permits were pulled. The 50th annual Mt. Tam Hillclimb had to be cancelled Friday once organizers were notified by park officials.
"It was really disappointing because we had 300 riders preregistered and were probably going to get about 400 altogether," said Tad Borek of race organizer Golden Gate Velo. "It was going to be the 50th running and we had a lot of people really excited because it was going to be their first race."
Borek said Golden Gate Velo spent about $4,000 obtaining the permits and about $12,000 in all to stage and prepare for the races.
A spokesman for the Marin Municipal Water District, which manages the Mt. Tam watershed, said everything was returning to normal and roads were opening up with the lifting of the red-flag warning. Roads leading to Natalie Coffin Greene Park and the Sky Oaks Watershed had been closed temporarily.
Ranger Supervisor Rich Gibson of the Marin County Parks and Open Space District said he hadn’t heard of any dangerous situations in Marin, but several hiking trail work crews were told to suspend use of power tools as a precaution.