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Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings

Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the United States National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation.

Due to drought conditions, conditions may indicate that a fire weather watch is issued. This means current and developing conditions (wind, humidity and fuel moisture) may turn into dangerous fire weather.

This has the potential to turn into a RED FLAG WARNING, which means current conditions (wind, humidity and fuel moisture) have created extreme fire behavior conditions that could result in a rapid increase in wildfire activity. These conditions can occur very quickly, In times of high fire danger you might hear them on a weather forecast on radio or TV. These warnings might help you decide to postpone a debris burning, campfires or any other activity which might create a ignition source until a safer time. You can also make sure to stay current on Fire Weather Watches and Warnings by checking the Albuquerque NWS office.

Fire Weather Watch
Whenever a geographical area has been in a dry spell for a week or two, or for a shorter period, if before spring green-up or after fall color, and the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is high to extreme and the following forecast weather parameters within the next 48 hours will be present together for at least three hours:
1. Sustained 20 ft wind 20 mph or greater and/or gusts 35 mph or greater
2. RH less than or equal to 15 pct
Fire Safety Tip: Consider burning debris on another day, when the humidity is higher and wind is slower.

Red Flag Warning
A term used by fire-weather forecasters to call attention to limited weather conditions of particular importance that may result in extreme burning conditions. It is issued when it is an on-going event or the fire weather forecaster has a high degree of confidence that Red Flag criteria will occur within 24 hours of issuance.
Red Flag criteria occurs whenever a geographical area has been in a dry spell for a week or two, or for a shorter period, if before spring green-up or after fall color, and the NFDRS is high to extreme and the following forecast weather parameters are forecasted to present together for at least three hours:
3. Sustained 20 ft wind 20 mph or greater and/or gusts 35 mph or greater
4. RH less than or equal to 15 pct

Fire Safety Tip: Never burn debris when a red flag warning is in effect. It can so easily get out of control, and you can be held liable for suppression costs.

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