Red Flag Warning issued for Thursday. What does it mean for Central Texas?

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX Weather) - A Red Flag Warning will be in place Thursday morning through 8 p.m. for a big portion of Central Texas. Thursday will be a sunny, windy, and dry day. That’s a bad combination when it comes to wildfire concerns.

Red Flag Warning in effect until 8 pm Thursday.
Red Flag Warning in effect until 8 pm Thursday.(KWTX)

What does a Red Flag Warning mean?

Simply put by the National Weather Service, “A Red Flag Warning means that extreme fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry vegetation can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Avoid all outside burning and welding today. Do not toss lit cigarette butts outside. Report wild fires to the nearest fire department or law enforcement office.”

Conditions for a why a Red Flag Warning for will be in place for most of Central Texas:

  • Relative humidity between 10%-15%
  • Northwest wind 20-25mph, with gusts up to 45mph
  • Sunshine & temperatures in the low 70s

With this combination of weather conditions, wildfires will have the potential to grow and spread rapidly. Any activities that can spark a wildfire should be avoided. Planned burning is not recommend and is illegal in areas with a Burn Ban in place. Almost all of Central Texas is under a Burn Ban.

Most of Central Texas is under a Burn Ban currently
Most of Central Texas is under a Burn Ban currently(KWTX)

Could wildfires really spark?

Yes. The conditions of sunny, dry, and windy weather have already led to several wildfires in the state of Texas. There are currently 5 active fires that have not been 100% contained, one of which is the Crittenberg fire in Coryell county. That fire sparked and spread quickly and even caused an evacuation of the town Flat.

There are currently 22 fires burning with all but 5 contained
There are currently 22 fires burning with all but 5 contained(KWTX)

One other factor working against us is the fact that we haven’t seen any beneficial rain in quite some time. That has led to exceptional drought conditions for areas west of I-35 and most of Central Texas has at least some sort of drought in place. All in all, that means the ground is very dry and acting as a fuel source for any fire that may spark.

Exceptional Drought conditions are west of I-35 and most of Central Texas has some sort of...
Exceptional Drought conditions are west of I-35 and most of Central Texas has some sort of drought level(KWTX)

What can I do to make sure fires are not ignited?

Avoid outdoor burning. Don’t plan any outside grilling or BBQs. Any activity that could spark an open flame, including welding, tossing cigarette butts, keeping tow chains from making contact with the ground, or using fire pits, needs to be left out of any plans at least for the rest of the week. On top of that, make sure to properly dispose of glass products. Glass can easily refract the sun rays and spark a fire too.

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