ratings and color codes for broad fire-danger classes
are useful for fire management and for informing the general
public of fire danger. Standard descriptions and color
codes follow (Please note that variations in the following
may exist due to agency and/or unit policy.
Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands, although
a more intense *-heat-* source, such as lightning, may
start many fires in duff or punky wood. Fires in open
cured grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain,
but woods fires spread slowly by creeping or smoldering,
and burn in irregular fingers. There is little danger
of spotting. The color code is green.
Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with
the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number
of starts is generally low. Fires in open-cured grassland
will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Woods
fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire
is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations
of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance
spotting may occur, but is not persistant. Fires are not
likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.
The color code is blue.
All fine dead fuels ignite readily and
fires start easily from most causes. Unattended brush
and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly
and short distance spotting is common. High-intensity
burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of
fine fuel. Fires may become serious and their control
difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small.
The color code is yellow.
Fires start easily from all causes, and immediately after
ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity.
Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in light
fuels may quickly develop high-intensity characteristics;
such as, long-distance spotting and fire whirlwinds, when
they burn into heavier fuels. Direct attack at the head
of such fires is rarely possible after they have been
burning more than a few minutes. The color code is orange.
Fires under extreme conditions start quickly, spread furiously,
and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious.
Development into high-intensity burning will usually be
faster and occur from smaller fires than in the very high
danger class (item 4). Direct attack is rarely possible,
and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition.
Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer
stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition
lasts. Under these conditions, the only effective and
safe control action is on the flanks until the weather
changes or the fuel supply lessens. The color code is
criteria for a RED FLAG WARNING are as follows: sustained
winds or frequent gusts greater than 15 mph, relative
humidity less than or equal to 30 percent and 10-hour
fuel moisture less than or equal to 15 percent. This is
the set criteria however we also take into account how
long the surface has been dry and the amount of available
BURNING CONDITION DESCRIPTIONS:
- Normal precautions such as keep watch over your fire
and keep a rake and a charged garden hose available for
use in keeping your fire in place should suffice.
- Exercise all normal precautions plus additional caution
will be necessary to ensure containment of your fire.
Never turn your back on your fire for even a moment. Periodically
wet the area around your fire with a spray from your garden
CAUTION - Exercise extreme caution. Open burning is
strongly discouraged. If you burn, do so only in a receptacle
such as a burn barrel and ensure you use a screen over
it to limit sparks from escaping. As always, keep a rake
and a charged garden hose at the ready and periodically
wet the surrounding area with a spray from your garden
hose. Don't burn as much at one time. If the fire seems
to be getting too hot, you may want to dampen it with
a light spray from the hose as well. Again, never turn
your back on your fire for even a moment.
BURN - Outdoor burning of any type should not even
be attempted. Conditions are too dangerous to be able
to burn safely under any circumstances. Fires can easily
break containment no matter what precautions you take.
Wait for another day.
- Your fire is your responsibility! If you have a fire
that breaks containment and causes a wildfire, YOU will
be held responsible for the full cost of extinguishing
the fire. In addition, you may face civil and/or criminal
charges. You are responsible for damage to other people's
property as well as timber damage and other possible
fines, costs, and fees. Most municipalities and developments
regulate outdoor burning. Know you local ordinances
and community rules before you burn. Some communities
do not permit burning at all.