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Silver City, NM, April 16, 2018—The National Weather Service has issued a RED FLAG WARNING for Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 17 for all of the Gila National Forest due to strong winds and low relative humidity.

Only the National Weather Service can issue a Red Flag Warning. The term Red Flag Warning is used by fire weather forecasters to alert fire personnel and the public of potential extreme and critical fire weather due to high winds and low relative humidity. Red Flag Warnings are issued when the ALL of the following criteria are met:

Wind speeds are expected to exceed 20 mph.

Relative humidity is 15% or lower.

Fire danger rating of High, Very High, or Extreme.

On a RED FLAG DAYS, the following restrictions go into effect on the Gila National Forest during the advisory hours (advisory hours differ depending on the fire weather zone):

1. Building, maintaining, or attending a fire or campfire. *Liquid propane or pressurized fuel used for heating and cooking devices are permissible as long as it can be turned on and off, and is in an area devoid of flammable materials within a five foot radius.
2. Smoking outside a vehicle or a building.
3. Vehicle use off roads or trails.
4. Driving a vehicle without an approved spark arresting device.
5. Operating an internal combustion engine (unless the equipment has an approved spark arresting device AND is in an area completely devoid of vegetation) i.e. chainsaws, generators, hot saws, skidders, and other recreational or industrial equipment.
6. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

The National Weather Service predicts that very windy conditions and low relative humidity is expected through Tuesday night. Forest visitors should use extreme caution.

For more information on detailed fire weather including advisory hours, Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings issued by the National Weather Service https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=red%20flag%20warning.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila