The National Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.
A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. A Fire Weather Watch is one level below a warning, but fire danger is still high.
The type of weather patterns that can cause a watch or warning include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above.
During heightened fire danger, CAL FIRE will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires. CAL FIRE urges Californians to be extremely cautious, especially during periods of high fire danger. It's important all residents and visitors take steps to prevent wildfires. One less spark could mean one less wildfire. See below for tips on preventing wildfires.
One Less Spark - One Less Wildfire: A few helpful reminders and safety tips include:
- Never mow or trim dry grass on a Red Flag Warning Day. (Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when its not hot and windy).
- Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
- Spark arresters are required in wildland areas on all portable gasoline powered equipment.
- Before starting a campfire, make sure you have a campfire permit and that they are permitted on the land you are visiting.
- Afterwards, ensure that your campfire is properly extinguished.
- Residents should make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
- Clear dead weeds and vegetation.
- Remove leaves and needles from gutters.
- Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.
- Never pull over in dry grass.
- Ensure trailer chains don't drag on the ground.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
- Have proper tire pressure to avoid driving on wheel rim.
- Never let your brake pads wear too thin.
- Make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
- Never burn landscape debris like leaves or branches on NO Burn Days or when it's windy or areas where not allowed.
- Target shoot only in approved areas, and never at metal targets.
- Report any suspicious activities to prevent arson.