Staff Report by Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lake Tahoe Basin is facing critical fire weather over the next couple of days.

The National Weather Service in Reno upgraded from a fire weather watch and issued a pair of red flag warnings for Sunday and Monday due to gusty winds and low humidity. The warnings are in effect each day from noon to 11 p.m.

West to southwest winds are expected to gust up to 45 mph in wind prone areas with a sustained wind of 15 to 25 mph. The humidity is 7 to 12% in western Nevada and 10 to 20% in the Tahoe Basin.

Officials say this time is critical, when fires can rapidly grow out of control.

“These are the conditions where a spark can become a catastrophic wildfire, with dry fuels, low humidity, and high winds in the forecast,” said Erin Holland, public information officer for North Tahoe Fire Protection District. “All of the wildfires creating devastation across California and northern Nevada in recent years occurred during red flag weather conditions, consequently all sources of outdoor open flame, including propane are banned during the red flag warning.”

Officials advise avoiding activities that could cause a spark such as yard work, target shooting, or campfires.

Sunday’s high temperature is expected to reach in the low 70s with Monday’s high in the high 60s.

If a fire does break out, officials advise residents and visitors to be prepared.

“Now is the time to ensure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel and is parked facing out, your devices are charged, your emergency go kit is current and within reach, and that your family and pets are prepared, practiced and ready to evacuate,” Holland said. “Visit our website for information on emergency and evacuation preparedness.”

For more information on how to make your home more resilient to wildfire, visit http://www.tahoelivingwithfire.com