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Red Flag FAQs

Q: What is a Red Flag Day?

A:    A Red Flag Day is when weather conditions are such that there is great potential for a fast-moving brush fire. The conditions are defined as wind speeds 25 mph or more and humidity 15% or less.

Q: How often will there be Red Flag Days?

A:    Over the past ten years, the maximum number of Red Flag days in a given year was 12. The normal range of Red Flag days per year is between four and seven.

Q: How are Red Flag areas identified?

A:    Local LAFD Station Commanders were asked to survey their districts and identify the areas that would create a problem for citizens if those neighborhoods needed to evacuate and for fire companies if they were entering those area during a fast moving brush fire. Station Commanders were directed to identify narrow roads, tight curves, and critical intersections that could create choke points. The areas identified were reviewed by the LAFD and the Department of Transportation to make sure the criteria for posting Red Flag area signs was correct. Once identified, signs were posted in these areas by the Department of Transportation.

Q: When conditions are determined to be Red Flag conditions (wind speeds 25 mph or more and humidity 15% or less), why isn't the entire city under a Red Flag warning?

A:     The LAFD and the Department of Transportation have determined there is the potential to create a choke point in only the specific areas identified by Red Flag signs. These areas involve narrow enough roads, and tight enough turns, that the delivery of emergency services could be impossible when vehicles are parked on these roads. In other areas of the city, this is not the case.

Q: How will I know if we are in a Red Flag Condition?

A:    The following methods were developed to notify citizens that the City is in a Red Flag condition and that the towing of vehicles parked along public roads with Red Flag signage  will be taking place:

  • Citizens will be able to contact the 311 Operator who will inform them if the City of Los Angeles is under a Red Flag condition.
  • Every local news outlet has agreed to notify viewers the City is under a Red Flag condition during the traffic and weather segments. Those news outlets include radio and television broadcasts.
  • Local fire companies will drive the posted areas on Red Flag Days in an attempt to locate vehicle owners to have them move their vehicles prior to being towed.
  • Numerous CERT and volunteer citizen groups assist in this program in order to free up fire companies.
  • This website will be available for the public to read about the program and see what areas of the city have been posted “No Parking on Red Flag Days.” In addition, citizens can provide their e-mail address, which will be included in a City mailing list.

Q: Why will we hear on the radio or television that there is a Red Flag condition yet the 311 Operator indicates that the City of Los Angeles is not enforcing the Towing Policy?

A:    Currently the media outlets do not differentiate between the Southern California region or the County of Los Angeles being in a Red Flag condition and just the City of Los Angeles being in a Red Flag condition. Citizens can determine if the City are in a Red Flag situation by phoning 311 or by contacting their local fire station.

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