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Fire Weather Watch vs Red Flag Warning, what’s the difference?

Posted at 10:03 AM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 12:34:57-04
Fire Weather Watch
Fire Weather Watch in effect from Tuesday afternoon till 9 pm

You’ve probably heard of a Red Flag Warning, but what about a Fire Weather Watch? There is a difference, and while one requires a higher sense of urgency, both are extremely important.

Differences in a Watch vs a Warning:

Watch vs Warning Explainer
Having the ingredients vs a baked cake related to a watch vs a warning

A watch is issued when conditions are right or favorable for a certain weather event (think severe thunderstorm or winter storm), where a warning is issued when the weather event is imminent or happening.

An easy way to tell the difference between the two is when you bake a cake. A watch relates to the ingredients of a cake, meaning all the right stuff is there to bake a cake, it just hasn’t happened yet. A warning, on the other hand, relates to a fully finished cake. All the ingredients came together just right, and now we officially have a cake here and ready to go.

A Fire Weather Watch simply means conditions could be or will be favorable in the future for dangerous fire conditions. A Red Flag Warning means fire conditions, mainly dry and windy weather, are currently present and a fire could easily ignite and spread quickly.

Both are to be taken seriously but during a Red Flag Warning, it means you should take extra care because dangerous fire conditions exist. No burning of any kind is recommended during a Red Flag Warning, even if you’re using a grill, especially a charcoal grill. If you see smoke of any kind, call it in immediately just to be safe.