What do ‘Red Flag Warnings’ mean?

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Diane Sieker photo
Anyone who has lived in Southern California for any length of time has heard the term “Red Flag Warning.” But exactly what does the alert mean for the average resident? The National Weather Service said, “A ‘Red Flag Warning’ is used to warn of an impending or occurring Red Flag event. Its issuance denotes a high degree of confidence that weather and fuel conditions consistent with local Red Flag event criteria will occur in 12 to 24 hours or less. Forecasters can issue the watch or warning for all or selected portions within a fire weather zone. The Red Flag event is verified when the weather and fuel conditions listed below are met simultaneously for any three hours or more during the period. The warning should remain in effect until the critical fire weather pattern ends.
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