Red flag warnings: a comparison to years past

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It feels like the same weather story week after week. Warm, dry, breezy and a number of red flag warnings. The warnings have been in abundance already this year. Incident meteorologist, Makoto Moore from the National Weather Service in Pueblo said from January 1 through March 31, we have had 20 red flag days.

Moore says since the early 2000's, we have averaged about 25 to 30 a year. This means we are already on track for a potentially busy season. 

In 2013, the year of the Black Forest Fire, we had 36 red flag warning days. In 2012, the year of Waldo Canyon, 46 were issued over the course of the year.

Relative humidity and wind play a role in these warnings, but fire weather days are also highly influenced by drought. In 2011, the year prior to the Waldo fire, we had 80 red flag warning days. That year brought moderate to extreme drought conditions which carried into 2012 and 2013. These were two of our biggest fire years. 

Moisture stats and drought conditions this year are comparable to our more significant fire years. Going forward, Moore said it is important to remember that increasing population means increased risk of a fire occurring. That being said, all red flag days need to be taken seriously. It is also important to do you part to educate others and report smoke and fire. 

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