What’s a Red Flag Warning Day in Butte County?

Learn how weather monitoring keeps our region safe.

“Red flag warnings:” not just quirky behaviors to watch out for on a first date. Issued only by the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning is an alert stating temperatures, humidity, vegetation moisture levels, and winds pose a significant risk of fire within the 24 hours after the warning is issued.

What’s the point of a red flag warning?

Among other things, Red Flag Warnings help inform local and regional authorities about when to declare no-burn days for debris. They also serve as reminders to all of us not to do risky things we shouldn’t do in the first place (e.g., tossing cigarettes aside , or dragging chains on a trailer, or mowing after 10 a.m.)  

For instance, here’s a good rule of thumb to start with—if you have a burn permit and wake up to find the weather hot, dry, and windy, immediately check with your local burn and air-quality authorities before putting a match to anything.

Where do I find out about local Red Flag Warnings?

You can find Red Flag Warnings for your area by typing your city or zip code into the California Fire Weather web page or the Sacramento Area National Weather Service (NWS) office.

What should I do during a Red Flag Warning?

First of all, don’t panic. It’s a cautionary warning, not an evacuation order. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already doing what you need to do, but it’s never a bad idea to review a few things:

  • Stay up-to-date on weather changes during the day.
  • Avoid activity producing sparks or flame (e.g., pick another day for grilling). 
  • Monitor local fire authorities on social media. 
  • Make sure your go bags are good to go, should you need them.

If you keep up with all the tips and advice from Be Ready, Butte! you’ll be ready for Red Flag Warning days and anything else changing weather conditions can dish out.