What is a fire weather watch?

When a fire weather warning is upgraded, it is called a red flag warning. Why?

BOULDER, COLO – The National Weather Service (NWS) is responsible for forecasting fire weather conditions.

Fire weather is when high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures, combine with dry vegetation. The weather conditions can override any favorable pre-existing conditions in an environment, to make it easier for fires to start. It also makes it harder for firefighters to put them out and allows the fires to spread very quickly.

There are four NWS offices that predict fire weather in Colorado. The Boulder office handles 22 counties in northeastern Colorado including the Front Range.

Full forecast: warmer, windy Saturday; Cooler Sunday

They issued a fire weather watch for parts of the eastern plains before Saturday, and a warning for many other counties. But the warning is not called a fire weather warning, it is actually called a red flag warning.

“Yes, it may not be completely intuitive, but it was conceived for use by land management agencies and not necessarily for public consumption,” said Bruno Rodriguez, chief fire weather forecaster at NWS Boulder. Product. ”

He said a Fire Weather Watch was issued when the weather conditions in the next one or two days were likely to lead to a higher wild fire danger.

A red flag warning is issued when fire weather conditions are imminent or occurring.

Related: Experts warn of increased risk of wildfires in Colorado this spring and summer

Rodriguez said the key information is written in the watch or warning description. Everything there is easy to understand except maybe the affected area, which is sometimes listed by numbered zones.

These are boundaries used by forecasters to Paintun which areas are more likely to experience fire weather conditions.

“Certain things that occur in this would be the type of micro-climate that area tends to see,” he said. “Maybe the type of vegetation that is predominant in that zone, that type of terrain: is it a mountain zone, foothills zone., Plains zone.”

Rodriquez said you can find the outline of the zones on their website, but the shaded area on the watch or warning map is the best way to know how close you are to fire weather conditions.

Here are some helpful links if you are looking for more detailed fire weather forecast information including discussions are meteorologists who issue the warnings, share their thoughts:

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