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Red Flag Program Oregon/Washington BLM



Red Flag Program

"A community safety effort for all residents and visitors in the Burns Interagency Fire Zone"

What is the Red Flag Program?

Red Flag Program

The Red Flag Program was designed to provide a visible reminder for people in the area to be more careful and vigilant when extreme fire weather or behavior is present or predicted. Red Flag volunteers will help form a Fire Prevention/Fire Alert Network throughout the Burns Interagency Fire Zone (BIFZ) and Harney County, increasing public awareness and community involvement in the local fire management program.

What does it mean if Red Flags are Flying?

Red Flag Warning

If you see a Red Flag flying, the BIFZ has been issued a Fire Weather Watch or a Red Flag Warning. A Fire Weather Watch alerts that Red Flag Warning conditions are expected to develop. A Red Flag Warning means that weather or fuel moisture conditions are at hazardous levels and could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. When either a Fire Weather Watch or a Red Flag Warning is issued, volunteers will be asked to post their Red Flags, alerting the public of the critical weather patterns and the need for action to protect life and property.

When are these Warnings Issued?


A Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning is issued when dry fuels are combined with one or more of the following events, depending on the lead time:

  • Dry lightning - Thunderstorms producing less than .10" of precipitation
  • Any lightning (wet or dry) - after an extended dry period
  • Very low humidity - 10% or less in the afternoon with poor night recovery (35% or less)
  • Strong winds - combined with low relative humidity, at set criteria levels

How do Program Volunteers Respond?

Red Flag Volunteers

Volunteers who participate in the Red Flag Program will be given a 3 x 5 Red Flag to display during a Red Flag Warning and will be alerted through a series of contacts that begin with the National Weather Service's Alert of changing weather conditions. The Red Flag Program Coordinator notifies the volunteers in the following stages:

  • Stage 1 Coordinator will notify volunteer of the alert status and have them display their flags.
  • Stage 2 Cancellation: Volunteers will be notified when conditions no longer exist and will be asked to store their flags until the next alert.

What's in the future for the Red Flag Program?

Severe Weather Spotters: Volunteers will be trained to identify severe weather conditions common to Harney County. This information will be used by the National Weather Service and local Fire Weather Staff.

Citizen Patrols: Volunteers will patrol areas of the Burns Interagency Fire Zone. Patrols will concentrate in areas near private residences, rural communities, and areas of special concern/interest. Volunteers will receive training in map reading, fire reporting, and fire communications.

Reporting a Wildfire?

Although wildfires are more likely to occur on or around a Red Flag Day, unpredicted weather patterns, human error, or unforeseen circumstances can cause a fire ANYTIME. To report a wildfire, call (541) 573-1000 and be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible:

Your name and phone number
Location of the fire
How it started and how big it is
Color of the smoke
People working on the fire

If you are interested in becoming a Red Flag Program volunteer, please mail or fax a volunteer application (PDF) to:

Burns Interagency Fire Zone
28910 HWY 20 W
Hines, OR 97738

For more information, call:
Jeff Rose - (541) 573-4450
Katie McConnell - (541) 573-4550

View or download a printable brochure of the Red Flag Program (PDF)