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  • Writer's pictureWildfire Aware

Understanding Red Flag Warnings

Have you ever wondered what a Red Flag Warning is and why it’s important to know? Here’s your answer. A Red Flag Warning, also known as a Fire Weather Warning, is issued when warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger. Let’s break down the factors that contribute to this warning.


When a Red Flag Warning is issued, dry air will be present in the atmosphere and any moisture from rain or snowfall will have been removed. Warmer temperatures can create the perfect conditions for fires to start quickly and spread rapidly. This becomes increasingly dangerous if combined with other elements such as strong winds.


Humidity levels below 15% increase fire danger because it means that vegetation dries out more quickly than normal. Dry vegetation can easily burn creating conditions where small fires can quickly become large wildfires. It also increases the difficulty of controlling any existing or potential fires due to the lack of moisture in the air and on the ground.

Wind Speed

Strong winds can cause existing fires to spread quickly while also causing small sparks or embers to travel long distances which can lead to new fires igniting elsewhere in an area already at risk of fire danger. Wind speeds between 25-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph may lead to a Red Flag Warning being issued as these conditions are ideal for wildfires to begin and spread rapidly throughout an area.

Red Flag Warnings are serious alerts that should be taken seriously due to their potential for creating dangerous fire conditions. In addition to monitoring weather forecasts for signs of a Red Flag Warning, people should take preventative steps such as avoiding outdoor activities that could spark a wildfire, never leaving campfires unattended, discarding cigarettes properly, and being aware of any open flames or hot surfaces near flammable materials like dry grass or woodpiles. By staying informed about weather conditions and taking proper precautions when necessary, we can help reduce the risks associated with Red Flag Warnings.

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