Red Flag Situations

If any of the following conditions exist, analyze further before burning:

  • No written plan
  • No map
  • No safety briefing
  • Heavy fuels
  • Dry duff and soil
  • Extended drought
  • Inadequate control lines
  • No updated weather forecast
  • Forecast does not agree with prescription
  • Poor visibility
  • Personnel or equipment stretched thin
  • Burning large area using ground ignition
  • Communications for all people not available
  • No one notified of plans of burn
  • Behavior of test fire not as prescribed
  • A smoke management system has not been used
  • Smoke sensitive area downwind or down drainage


If any of the following conditions exist STOP burning and extinguish existing fire:

  • Fire behavior erratic
  • Spot fire or "slop over" occurs and is difficult to control
  • Wind shifting or other unforeseen change in weather
  • Smoke not dispersing as predicted
  • Public road or other smoke sensitive area smoked in
  • Burn does not comply with all laws, regulations, and standards
  • Large fuel, such as logs, igniting and burning. Not enough personnel to mop-up before dark and likely to smoke in smoke sensitive areas


Source -
US Forest Service publication A Guide for Prescribed Fire in Southern Forest