Environment & Science

What Exactly Is A Red Flag Warning?

An inmate firefighter from Oak Glen Conservation Camp near Yucaipa, California sets a backfire during the Easy Fire on October 30, 2019 near Simi Valley, California.
An inmate firefighter from Oak Glen Conservation Camp near Yucaipa, California sets a backfire during the Easy Fire on October 30, 2019 near Simi Valley, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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Red flag warning: They're some of the most dreaded words in fire-prone California. By now, many locals understand the term to basically mean, "Watch out for fires. It's about to get real."

KPCC has been demystifying some of the jargon around fires, so when Betsy Lawlor from Diamond Bar asked us to break down exactly what a red flag warning is, we were more than happy to explain.