Yesterday, firefighters had their 3rd straight day of Red Flag Warning conditions over the Cornet Fire (22,792 acres) and the Windy Ridge Fire (22,862 acres) in Oregon. The fires are burning within 4 miles of each other, and a cold front moved over the fire area yesterday. Historically, cold fronts have been responsible for low humidities and erratic winds that can cause extreme fire behavior and rapid fire growth. These conditions, along with poor situational awareness, have caused the loss of numerous firefighters’ lives.
Red Flag Warnings are usually issued to areas expecting low relative humidities and high or erratic winds. These circumstances lead to an increased potential for rapid fire growth; however, large fires can start and grow even when a region is not under a Red Flag Warning. As of today, the only area of the country under this type of Warning is Montana into North Dakota. There are over 50 fires in the country greater than 1,000 acres presently burning outside of this current Warning area.