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A red flag warning has been issued for Pima County

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The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for Pima County as of 1:30 PM on May 4. The warning expires at 7:00 PM on May 5.

With a red flag warning, any fires that develop or persist can spread quickly in certain weather conditions.

The weather service expected 20 feet of southwesterly winds at 20 to 30 mph and gusts up to 35 to 45 mph.

Relative humidity was expected to drop to 6% to 14% in the lower elevations and 10% to 17% in the mountains.

Areas affected include south-central Pima County and Pinal County, Tohono O’odham Nation; eastern Pima County and southeastern Pinal County, Santa Cruz County and western Cochise County; southern Graham County and central and eastern Cochise County and southern Greenlee County, lower portions of the San Carlos Apache Nation in Graham County; northern Graham County and northern Greenlee County, the White and Gila mountains; mountains above 5,500 feet.

The red flag warning applies from Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For the latest watches and warnings, see our weather alerts page.

When is wildfire season in Arizona?

A defined wildfire season doesn’t really exist in Arizona anymore.

As the Department of Forestry and Fire Management puts it, “Fires can occur year-round. We emphasize the importance of prevention. We must all work together to reduce the risk of wildfires in our great state.”

In 2021, wildfires burned approximately 500,000 acres in Arizona; In 2020 there were even more, with more than 900,000 hectares.

Tiffany Davila, a public affairs officer with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, said the whole idea of ​​a “wildfire season” isn’t even relevant anymore in the Southwest.

“We have been saying for years that we will no longer have a season. A wildfire can happen in Arizona any day of the year,” Davila said. “That’s why we prepare all year round and push our prevention messages 365 days a year, because we don’t want to become complacent.”

What should I do during a red flag warning?

The weather service advises:

  • If burning is allowed in your area, all burn barrels should be covered with a weighted metal lid, with holes no larger than ½ inch.
  • Do not throw cigarettes or matches from a moving vehicle. They can ignite dry grass on the side of the road and cause a wildfire.
  • Properly extinguish all outdoor fires. Drown fire with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Immerse the charcoal in water until it is cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it there.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, start a fire and spread quickly.

What is a red flag warning? What Arizonans need to know about the wildfires

This article was generated by The Arizona Republic and USA TODAY Network using data released by the National Weather Service. It was edited by a staff member.