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Red Flag Warning And What It Means To You
Firefighting agencies as well as land management agencies keep a close eye on the forecast given out by the United States National Weather Service, especially when certain things are happening, like high wind speeds and low humidity as well as low moisture content in the area vegetation. When a Red Flag Warning is issued, fire fighting agencies may have to change their staff and equipment to be able to meet this danger, should a fire be started. In some cases they will send out a call for firefighters across the country to come and help if the fire is especially bad, so when an area is issued a Red Flag Warning, they might put other fire fighting agencies on call.
The hardest to reach fires, usually started by lightning, are often very hard to fight simply because they can be almost inaccessible by most of their equipment, so they will have to go in on foot and also use ariel tactics, dumping chemicals on the fire from above.
To firefighting and land management agencies, the Red Flag Warning doesn't so much mean their is a risk for a fire, it more means that there WILL be a fire somewhere. It means get ready for the call. To us, the public, a Red Flag Warning means use the highest amount of caution and common sense, and watch out for fires in the area.
When such a warning is issued, do not run machines like ATV's over the dry grass, the hot engine is enough to start a fire. Never, even on good days, throw a cigarette on the ground, that is what ashtrays are for. Never burn weeds or trash when the wind is blowing, even a mild breeze can take a hot spark and ignite the grass. Trains are really bad about throwing sparks and igniting fires. For those with fireplaces, before you dump the ashes out, be 100% positive they are COLD, and even then dump it in a pit or something, not on grass.
Even if you are super careful, you may still end up with a fire near you, through lightning strikes or someone else's carelessness. If this happens, call the fire department immediately, then try to stop the flames from advancing. We have been under the Red Flag Warning for over a week now. A couple of days ago, we got a know on the door, and a woman said there was a fire headed for our place, she and her husband were trying to stop it, and the firefighters were on their way. I grabbed a shovel and went up to help. There were already five or six people with towels, sheets and other cloth items, slapping at the flames, trying to keep it from getting any closer to our house. I started shoveling dirt from the mole hills onto the leading edge of flames. The fire was stopped about 500 ft from our place. I was able to take a picture of the blackened edge from my bedroom window. I never found out what started it.
whether your area is issued a Fire Weather Watch or a Red Flag Warning, please use extreme caution when out doors and keep an eye out for smoke. And please, if you are driving and see a fire, don't just keep going. One or two people swatting at the flames or stomping it even can keep it from spreading out of control before the firefighters can get there. you may think, oh well, there are no homes nearby, but fire can spread incredibly fast, and it may reach an area where there ARE homes in no time, and even if it doesn't, almost all land today is farm land or pasture land, a fire can wipe out good grazing areas, leaving livestock to do without.
Please take both the Fire Weather Watch and the Red Flag Warning extremely serious.