by Alex Gronke
The risk of fire in the East Bay hills will increase as strong winds blow into the Bay Area Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The National Weather Service is predicting wind speeds in higher elevations could reach 35 to 60 miles per hour. Combined with dry brush and dry air, the offshore winds will create conditions that make wildfires more likely and harder to contain if they start.
The winds also mean the Bay Area Air Quality Management District didn't declare a Spare the Air Day for Thursday, breaking an 11-day stretch of bans on burning wood.A windstorm in late November was responsible for two deaths, blackouts across the region and scores of downed trees.