When the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Red Flag Warning, most San Bernardino County residents know to keep a watchful eye for signs of fire in their community.

But what exactly does a Red Flag Warning mean? And how do you know if one’s in place?

In a nutshell, the warning means warm temperatures, very low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger within a 24-hour period.

Red Flag Warnings are usually reported on the radio or in newspapers, and they are also shared on social media, but even with that many venues getting the word out, some residents might miss the message.

In light of this, the San Bernardino County Fire Department has begun flying a red flag under the American flag at fire stations within areas under Red Flag Warnings.

“The Red Flag Warning program is designed to enhance public safety by providing a visual reminder that extreme fire conditions are predicted or present,” said Fire Chief Don Trapp. “This program is another tool in reaching out to communities during Red Flag Warnings and asking them to take extra precautions.”

The Fire Department will also fly the red flag when the National Weather Service issues a Fire Weather Watch, which means fire conditions are likely to exist in the next 12 to 72 hours.

In addition to watching for signs of fires, there are things residents should not do when a Red Flag Warning or Fire Weather Watch are in place, such as yard work that might generate sparks.

Fire agencies typically increase the number of firefighters on duty and get equipment positioned and ready when fire warnings are in effect.

Residents are encouraged to report any sign of fire immediately to 911 regardless of whether a warning is in place. Learn more about the County Fire Department and how to make your home and property fire safe by visiting www.sbcfire.org.

(San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford represents the 2nd District, which includes part of Fontana. This article originally appeared in "The Rutherford Report.")

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