Red flag warning in effect for Leeward areas across Hawaii

NWS watches, warnings & advisories
NWS watches, warnings & advisories

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday for strong winds and low relative humidity for mainly Leeward areas.

The affected areas include the Leeward areas of all islands.

Winds are from the east between 15 and 20 miles per hours, with gusts up to 30 miles per hour. Relative humidity as low as 44 percent.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

A red flag warning does not predict new fire starts.

What is a Red Flag Warning?

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert land management agencies about the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. This could be due to low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, or any combination thereof. Each year, the NWS coordinates with each state to implement a State Operating Plan related to fire weather services. Red flag criteria are set in these plans and vary from state to state.

In Hawaii, the criteria for Red Flag events is a Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) greater than or equal to 600, relative humidity equal to or less than 40 percent, and winds greater than 20 mph. Red Flag Warnings alert of the potential for widespread ignitions or control problems with new or existing fires.

A Red Flag Warning is issued when the above conditions are expected to be met within the next 24 hours. A fire weather watch is issued when the above conditions are expected to be met during the next 24 to 48 hours. Typically, these watches and warnings are issued at the same time the routine fire weather forecasts are issued.

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