...This is severe weather awareness week in Wyoming...
The week of April 21 to April 25 has been designated severe weather awareness week in Wyoming. Today we will discuss fire weather.
What is fire weather and why would it be included in severe weather awareness week?
Fire weather is a broad term used to describe weather variables that influence fire potential...behavior...and suppression. The National Weather Service issues watches and warnings when weather variables encourage extreme fire behavior...just like the National Weather Service does for extreme winter weather conditions or for severe thunderstorms.
There are two products issued to warn of extreme fire behavior. The first is a Fire Weather Watch which is issued when the weather is expected to encourage extreme fire behavior a couple of days from now...and it is often upgraded to what is known as a red flag warning once the time of the anticipated conditions draws near.
When is a red flag warning issued?
The main two weather elements that encourage explosive fire growth is very low relative humidity and breezy winds. Humidity below 15 percent in combination with gusty winds above 25 mph...have shown to result in explosive fire growth when fuels are critical. If these conditions are expected then a red flag warning is issued within 24 hours of the event.
A red flag warning will also be issued when thunderstorms with little or no rainfall are expected when fuels are critical. Dry thunderstorms can initiate multiple new fire starts...which can tax fire fighting resources.
If a red flag warning is issued for your area...this is your signal to be even more cautious with fire.
Wildfires can be started by the slightest spark...even from something as perceptively harmless as parking an atv in the grass...the warm muffler may start a grass fire.
Check for current burn bans for your County...and please take them seriously. If you plan on doing some agricultural burning... please notify your local sheriff and Fire Department to ensure that it is Legal and that you do not cause any false alarm calls.
Also please call the National Weather Service at 800-211-1448 for a forecast first so that you ensure that red flag conditions will not develop and cause your fire to become uncontrollable.
Severe awareness week in Wyoming will end tomorrow with a test Tornado Warning at 1030 am MDT issued by National Weather Service offices serving Wyoming. This test Tornado Warning will be followed by a test severe weather statement at 1045 am MDT which will cancel the test warning.
This statewide drill offers government officials...law enforcement agencies...schools...and businesses as well as other private groups and citizens the chance to test their severe weather communications and plans in advance of severe weather season. The National Weather Service encourages participation in this drill.
Kelly Allen meteorologist and fire weather program manager National Weather Service Riverton WY weather.Gov/Riverton