What is a Red Flag Warning?

A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when warm temperatures, very low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

Another weather pattern that can cause a Red Flag Warning is when lightning strikes are expected with little or no rain, common in our area during the summer months.

The National Weather Service provides daily fire weather forecasts in coordination with fire agencies.  The Red Flag Warning Program enables firefighting agencies to manage critical resources and prepare appropriate suppression responses.  The Red Flag Warning is usually issued within 24 hours of an impending fire weather event.

“The idea of a Red Flag Warning is to communicate the fact that the weather conditions present will promote rapid fire growth should a fire form,” according to AccuWeather.

During Red Flag Warnings:

  • Report any sign of smoke immediately by calling 911.
  • Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.
  • Don’t throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle.  They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.
  • Extinguish all outdoor fires properly.  Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch.  Dunk charcoal in water until cold.  Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.
  • Never leave a fire unattended by an adult.  Sparks or embers can blow into the leaves or grass and quickly spread.
  • Use extreme caution when operating spark or flame producing machinery.
  • People should avoid parking or idling their vehicles over grass.  Vehicles shouldn’t be driven over tall grass or vegetation, as the exhaust system can be so hot it can ignite the brush upon contact.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place.

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