We apologize in advance for the length of this post. There are several topics that we feel are important and that we need to inform you about.
This morning, the National Weather Service (NOAA) issued a "fire weather watch" for the EM region and areas to our east for Monday, October 17th. It is predicted to endure from late morning until early evening. We have not had to discuss the meaning of this since spring, so it is appropriate to remind everyone of what this means.
A "fire weather watch" is equivalent to the "red flag" warning. The only difference is that a watch is issued when the level of confidence in this forecast is at approximately a 50% chance of actually occurring. The "red flag" warning is issued when the NWS has a very high level of confidence in their forecast taking place. Since these conditions are very dangerous, NWS prefers to error on the side of caution when they issue them.
Here is an explanation of why these forecasts are made. "Fire weather watch" and "red flag" warnings: these forecasts are made when temperatures are above average (or normal) for that time of year, relative humidity is very low, and wind speeds are elevated (usually steady in the 20-30 mph range, with gusts well above that). These conditions can occur at any Fire Danger level. Currently we are at the "moderate" fire danger level in our region.
What is a "red flag" warning? Here is the definition: "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. They can be issued at any Fire Danger level."
EMIFPA encourages you to follow this advice during "red flag" conditions: no campfires, no smoking outside, and no welding until NWS (NOAA) lifts the warning.
Finally, the Sandia Ranger District has completed the prescribed burn in Units 1 and 2 of the Sulphur PG fuels reduction project. Residual smoke will be visible over the next days. Be assured that crews will be patrolling and monitoring the area. EMIFPA posted a picture of the area taken this morning. It can be seen at our Facebook page, linked here:
Pictures of the Sulphur PG prescribed burn can also be found on the Cibola NF Facebook page, linked here: https://www.facebook.com/cibolanf/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.
DO NOT call 911 to report smoke from the prescribed burn. Personnel are well aware of the smoke. Please keep the 911 hotline open for emergencies. Sandia Ranger District fire personnel will be monitoring this area over the next few days. Expect to see smoke for several days, but all smoke will be from interior areas and pose no threat to the surrounding area.
EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator
EMIFPA web site
EMIFPA Facebook site