UPDATE: Fire Crews Fortify Lines Around Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg

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As the last in a series of Red Flag high wind events arrives on Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of firefighters and dozens of bulldozer operators are fortifying fire lines around Mark West, Windsor and Healdsburg in advance of gusty, unpredictable winds.

Much of the effort is centered on keeping the fire from once again pushing toward Windsor, Healdsburg and the northern edges of Santa Rosa in the Mark West area, as it did on Sunday.

As of midday Tuesday, the fire was relatively quiet on its southwestern edge, the part near Santa Rosa and of most concern to fire crews, but even so hundreds of firefighters spent the day putting out hot spots, patroling for flare ups, and inspecting power lines.

Here is how the southern sector of the Kincade fire was seen by satellite Tuesday.  The squares and dots indicate past fire activity at least 24 hours old as the fire advanced toward Windsor and Santa Rosa on Sunday afternoon.  The second image shows the fire lines as of Tuesday, including the closest approach the fire made to Highway 101 on Sunday.

Red Flag Warnings are up for the North Bay, with winds expected to ramp up to 20-35 miles per hour with gusts as high as 65 on the highest peaks of Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties tonight.  At lower elevations, the winds should be nearer to 10-15 miles per hour with gusts to 35. However, after a peak before midnight, this wind event is expect to be over much more quickly that the one Saturday night, with light winds returning by morning and the Red Flag Warning over by 11AM Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the major focus of air attack was on the eastern edge of the fire, where it was growing toward Middletown in Lake County. However, with a shift to offshore winds this afternoon and tonight, fire behavior experts expect the blaze to again try to push south and west before winds once again decrease Wednesday morning.

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