Current dry conditions and strong winds, especially in the west, have led to “red flag warnings” in many states. The Wildfire Today blog has been doing a great job positing daily information about where red flag warnings have been issued via the National Weather Service.
It got me thinking about what a “red flag warning” means and how residents should respond to one if issued in their area. Such warnings are issues when vegetation is dry, relative humidity is low, and winds are high over a period of time or a time of day.
A fire in these conditions can spread rapidly. The National Weather Service provides a detailed definition of a red flag warning and a glossary definition to help explain how the warnings are determined. Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe of KKTV, Colorado Springs, CO, provided a valuable explanation in this 2009 post as well.
What should a red flag warning mean to a Firewise Community?
I had the opportunity earlier today to speak with Courtney Peterson, Wildfire Mitigation Education Coordinator and Firewise State Liaison with Colorado State Forest Service, and she shared with me that with, “Colorado’s snowpack at only 65 percent of average and red flag warnings in effect throughout much of Colorado, there’s no better time than now to prepare homes and communities for wildfire.”
She went onto say that, “homeowners, landowners and communities bear the ultimate responsibility to help protect themselves, their property and their local values at risk from the threat of wildfire. Taking simple steps, such as clearing brush, trees and other flammable materials away from homes and other structures, can help make homes more defensible and keep residents and firefighters safe.”
Learn about the risk and play your part in wildfire preparedness today.
Photo Credit: National Weather Service, http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/fire/briefing.php