RED FLAG WARNING: What does an Enhanced Fire Danger or Red Flag Warning Mean?

Thursday, November 19, 2020
National Weather Service in Indianapolis

While the Northern Indiana forecast area is fortunate enough to not have the forest fires that plague the western states, residents are NOT exempt from fire dangers.

A Red Flag Warning was issued November 19 until 7 p.m. by National Weather Service in Indianapolis for Fire Weather Zone 052, which is Clay County.

Details of the warning include:

* TIMING...Until 7 PM EST.

* WINDS...South 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 22 percent.

* TEMPERATURES...In the mid-60s.

* IMPACTS...Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.

Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Never throw cigarettes out of a vehicle.

Log onto for current Fire Weather Planning Forecast and other useful information.

Red Flag conditions (higher fire danger) occur when the following criteria are met or exceeded

* Sustained wind speeds of 20 mph or frequent gusts above 20 mph for at least 3 hours

* Relative humidity values at or below 25 percent for at least 3 hours

* In Indiana and Ohio only, 10-hour fuels (small twigs, branches, grass, and leaves) have a moisture content of 7 to 8 percent or less

* In Michigan only, air temperatures must be 75 degrees or warmer

* If the above conditions are forecasted to occur, either a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning may be issued. This decision is made in coordination with local, state, federal, and tribal land management officials.

If conditions are not met (or are close to being met) and in the opinion of both the fire weather forecaster and land management officials unsafe burning conditions will exist, then the risk is highlighted by using the "Enhanced Fire Danger" statement. This allows the public as well as local fire officials to be aware of the increased risk of fires spreading out of control and allows for resource allocation in the event of a fire.

Regardless of any headlines or statements that may be in effect, residents should follow any local or state burning policies, including temporary bans.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: