New red flag warning criteria in California

The National Weather Service in southern California is changing the criteria that triggers a red flag warning for fire danger. In addition to wind speed and relative humidity, the new system will take into account local geography and terrain. Weather forecast offices across the state will have different criteria. Check out the full story in the LA Times, but here is a video of an LA Times reporter explaining the new system.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

One thought on “New red flag warning criteria in California”

  1. Very interesting. Seems to be a nationwide policy shift, since I see similar changes in New England.

    I keep a diary of the fire danger & fire weather forecasts in my area when conditions are favorable to wildfires.

    I noticed last year there were several days I put in my own snarky comments to the effect of “Red flag? Really?” It may have met the weather service criteria, but my own observations questioned whether exceptional fire behavior was practical.

    This year I’ve noticed they seem more conservative in issuing them, including one day that the forecast included this on April 5th:

    “AFTER COORDINATING WITH OUR FIRE WEATHER CONTACTS WE WILL NOT ISSUE FIRE WEATHER HEADLINES AT THIS TIME AS CONDITIONS APPEAR TOO MARGINAL.”

    (I assume “Fire Weather Contacts” means the state agencies that use their forecasts)

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