Guam’s red flag days: 6 already this year

Landon Aydlett, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service. (PNC file photo)

Compared to the weather last year, Guam is ahead of the curve when it comes to red flag days.

Red flag days are days when the weather elevates the threat of a wildfire.

Meteorologist Landon Aydlett told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo that counting yesterday there have been six red flag days this year as the island enters the peak fire danger months of May and June.

There were six red flag days for all of last year.

Along with heat, red flag days are determined based on wind speed and humidity.

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“We’re calculating these values every day throughout the dry season and during the off-season…the wet season…to monitor our wildfire threat. So when we have a prolonged period of little or no rain, that threat continues to creep up in January, March, April, and then we come into what we consider peak fire danger season in around May and June. Eventually, those rains start filtering in and start that transition,” Aydlett said.

Although there was rain yesterday, it didn’t cover the entire island.

The Pacific is currently feeling the effects of a La Nina weather pattern which usually makes Guam’s dry seasons wetter.

Guam hasn’t been experiencing the typical wet weather of a La Nina although other island groups, below north 10 degrees latitude, have borne the brunt of the weather system.

Aydlett, however, said that the La Nina pattern shouldn’t last much longer.

“The La Nina pattern is gradually weakening. We’re going towards a neutral pattern. So when it comes to our outlook, we are going to be working on that and releasing that, hopefully in early to mid-June. We’ll be seeing more of an average season. I think last year is about as slow as a tropical cyclone season we will see. And that was mainly due to a moderate to strong La Nina event in the region,” Aydlett said.

According to NWS, a fire weather watch remains in effect for Guam through Thursday afternoon this week. That means critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur and sustained winds at 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph are expected.

NWS says the combination of strong winds and 55% to 60% humidity will create ideal conditions for the rapid spread of wildfires. The highest threat is expected for the southern part of Guam, mainly along and south of Cross Island Road.

Outdoor burning is not recommended.