Red flag warnings elevate fire danger concerns | KOB 4

Red flag warnings elevate fire danger concerns

Eddie Garcia and Joy Wang
March 04, 2018 10:20 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Most of New Mexico was put under a red flag warning on Sunday.


The warning began at 9 a.m. Sunday along and east of the central mountain chain and the middle Rio Grande Valley where low humidity strong winds and above average temperatures create extreme fire weather conditions.

Three things need to happen to have a red flag warning -- high wind, low humidity and high temperature. A fire station in the South Valley hoisted their red flag up. It will remain up until 7 p.m.

Southwest to west winds may gust over 60 mph across the high terrain of central New Mexico and over portions of the high plains of eastern New Mexico. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour are expected elsewhere.

Strong winds and blowing dust may suddenly reduce visibility and create hazardous travel conditions. A red flag warning can also mean no open burning in the area.

Because of the dry winter, firefighters say they're preparing for what could be a bad fire season. There could be some extra moisture if there are spring rains or monsoon season starts early, but they still have to prepare for whatever could happen.

The red flag warning means if a fire does start, it will likely spread quicker.

"Wind typically spreads the fire faster. It's dangerous for us as well trying to fight the fire because your flame lengths can reach out and actually are a lot higher than it would be if there was no wind involved," said Robert Bruhn, a commander with the Bernalillo County Fire Department. "And then the fire is going to spot farther and farther in front of you during high winds, so it's going to move faster. It's going to cover more area, a lot of times before we even get there."


Eddie Garcia and Joy Wang

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved



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