This morning NOAA updated Tuesday's and Wednesday's weather. Tuesday is now predicted to be under "red flag" conditions from 11 am until 12 midnight. Wednesday is now predicted to be "fire weather watch" conditions from 12 noon until 8 pm. Very strong winds are also predicted Tuesday, gusting up to 70 mph. Winds will remain strong into Wednesday. The complete discussion is linked here: http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=abq&wwa=red%20flag%20warning
"Fire weather watch" conditions are only one level below the more dangerous "red flag" conditions. As NOAA meteorologist Brent Wachter has stated, the difference between "fire weather watch" and "red flag" conditions can be as little as 1 degree in temperature, or 1 per cent in relative humidity. The fuel moisture levels are already trending lower area wide, and our frequent winds have accelerated this process.
A reminder of what "red flag" means: A "red flag" warning is a short term, temporary warning indicating the presence of dangerous combinations of temperature, wind, relative humidity, fuel or drought conditions which can contribute to new fires or rapid spread of existing fires. "Red flag" warnings can be issued at any Fire Danger level (we are currently in the "Moderate" Fire Danger level). EMIFPA recommends the following items to be followed during these conditions: NO CAMPFIRES, NO SMOKING OUTSIDE, NO WELDING.
When you are using the NOAA sites linked below, keep in mind the above admonitions. The first is a the link to the local NOAA web site: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/. The second allows you to track the progress of "red flag" conditions as they progress over the course of a day, an important means of maintaining your wildfire situational awareness: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/?n=forecasts-fireweather-dss .
Please maintain your vigilance, check your preparedness status, and as always, report it, don't ignore it - always call 911 first!!
EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator
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