News in brief

The National Weather Service has red flag warnings in effect in Colorado and New Mexico, and also issued such warnings for parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona over the weekend.

But what does that even mean?

“When a red flag warning is issued, it really means that the weather is capable of producing extreme fire behavior in the event of a fire,” said Heath Hockenberry, National Weather Service Fire Program Manager.

Hockenberry said these warnings typically last one to three days.

Before issuing a warning, Hockenberry said they were speaking with land managers in the field. They also examine winds, weather conditions and local ecology.

“A red flag warning in Albuquerque has different criteria than Boise. And that makes sense because we’re in two different climate regimes and that means the fuels are different,” he said.

You can monitor these warnings on the weather service’s social media or on their website,

If there’s a warning in your area, take precautions like making sure campfires are completely out, and review plans in case a fire forces evacuations.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in the Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations throughout the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the public broadcasting company.

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