Fire Weather & Red Flag Warnings

Fire weather advisories are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) and mean warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger. This also alerts fire officials to the increased risk for fire due to the weather conditions.    

Here are the fire weather notices that may be issued by the NWS during wildfire season:

Red Flag Warning 

  • Red Flag Warnings are issued for ongoing or imminent weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours.
  • A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert.  
  • During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.  

Fire Weather Watch 

  • A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours.  
  • A Fire Weather Watch is one level below a red flag warning, but fire danger is still high.  
  • A watch means critical fire weather conditions are possible but not imminent or occurring.  

City/County Preparations for Emergency Response During Fire Season

During fire season, we want residents to be aware of the ways that Sonoma County public safety officials will be monitoring and responding to conditions in the field to help protect our community, including the use of advanced warning fire cameras, up-staffing firefighting resources during Red Flag Warnings, and through the use of public alert and warning tools. 

Red Flags Fly at all Fire Stations During Red Flag Warnings: The Santa Rosa Fire Department, along with fire agencies across Sonoma County, utilize a fire weather flag system to help increase community awareness during times of critical fire weather. If the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning for the City’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area and/ or any other impacted portion of the City, all City of Santa Rosa Fire Stations fly a red flag throughout the duration of the weather event to signify to the community that the area is forecasted to experience critical wildfire weather conditions. 

Advanced Warning Fire Cameras: A network of advanced-warning fire cameras are installed in strategic vantage point areas throughout Sonoma County. The cameras are used 24/7 by fire and dispatch agencies to monitor fires in and around Sonoma County, and can also be viewed online by the public. The cameras allow for greater advanced notice and situational awareness of a fire threat even when the fire starts in a neighboring city or county. View the cameras:

Up-staffing Fire Resources on Red Flag Days:  During a Red Flag Warning, which signifies critical fire weather conditions, Sonoma County fire agencies work in partnership to up-staff firefighters and fire-fighting equipment to actively patrol areas specified as high-fire risk areas during a declared weather event. This action allows for quicker and more immediate onsite resources in the event of a fire threat. 

Emergency Notification Tools:  In the event of an emergency, the City will use multiple notification and warning systems to make sure emergency alerts are delivered to the people who need the information. It’s important that every resident is aware of these systems, is subscribed to the ones that require registration, and understands how each system works to deliver critical messages to recipients. Make sure you know your alerts: