Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches

A Red Flag Warning or a Fire Weather Watch is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) when the combination of dry fuels and weather conditions (low relative humidity, elevated temperatures, strong winds) support extreme fire danger. A Fire Weather Watch is issued up to 72 hours before the conditions are expected to occur. A Red Flag Warning is issued when the conditions are expected to occur, or are occurring, within the next 24 hours.

Warnings and watches are intended to heighten public awareness about elevated conditions that may ignite fire, so residents can be prepared.

What happens when a Red Flag Warning is issued?

  • The NWS advises public safety officials, public agencies, utilities and the local media that a Red Flag Warning has been issued.
  • Burn permits are cancelled, and all burning is banned countywide.
  • Southern California Edison (SCE) reviews local conditions and the potential fire threat ahead of issuing an alert for an SCE Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event. 
  • Under extreme heat and/or wind conditions, public events may be postponed.
  • Remember, a Red Flag Warning means you should be prepared, not that you should panic.

What should I do when a Red Flag Warning is issued?

  • Report any sign of smoke immediately by calling 9-1-1. Addressing potential fires early, can aid in preventing them from spreading.
  • Be Ready for Wildfire: Review your escape plan and update your emergency go-kit (if needed). Know two exit routes from your neighborhood.
  • Be prepared for a possible power outage.
  • Register to receive emergency notifications through VC Alert.
  • Report downed trees: 805-652-4550. After hours and on weekend, report by calling 805-650-8010.
  • Report downed power lines: 1-800-611-1911
  • Stay informed through social media (Facebook, Instagram) and local media outlets. Do not call 9-1-1.
  • Stop any activities that have the potential to start a fire: Campfires, mowing, construction, barbecuing, etc.
  • Include pets in your emergency planning.
  • If you have an automatic garage door, learn how to open it manually, or consider parking in the driveway.
  • Ensure your vehicle is fueled and that you have your driver's license to provide proof of residence available should you need it for possible road closures.
  • During strong wind events, drive cautiously by keeping two hands on the wheel at all times, and by continually scanning your surroundings for hazards. 
  • Report suspicious persons or vehicles by calling the Ventura Police Department non-emergency line at 805-650-8010.
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