Red Flag Warning issued for parts of Lower Michigan: Here's what that means

Monday may be the warmest day of the year so far in parts of Michigan.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for parts of Lower Michigan until 8 p.m. this evening for the following counties:

  • Alcona
  • Alpena
  • Antrim
  • Arenac
  • Benzie
  • Charlevoix
  • Cheboygan
  • Crawford
  • Gladwin
  • Grand Traverse
  • Iosco
  • Kalkaska
  • Leelanau
  • Manistee
  • Missaukee
  • Montmorency
  • Ogemaw
  • Oscoda
  • Otsego
  • Presque Isle
  • Roscommon
  • Wexford

Full forecast here.

What's a Red Flag Warning?

A term used by fire-weather forecasters to call attention to limited weather conditions of particular importance that may result in extreme burning conditions.

It is issued when it is an on-going event or the fire weather forecaster has a high degree of confidence that Red Flag criteria will occur within 24 hours of issuance.

Red Flag criteria occurs whenever a geographical area has been in a dry spell for a week or two, or for a shorter period , if before spring green-up or after fall color, and the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is high to extreme and the following forecast weather parameters are forecasted to be met:

1) a sustained wind average 15 mph or greater
2) relative humidity less than or equal to 25 percent and 
3) a temperature of greater than 75 degrees F. 
In some states, dry lightning and unstable air are criteria. A Fire Weather Watch may be issued prior to the Red Flag Warning.

Here are some tips from the National Weather Service:

-If you are allowed to burn in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch.

 -Do not throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.

 -Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.

 -Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, ignite a fire, and quickly spread.

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