Red flag warning issued for downwind areas as wildfire risk increases

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The Honolulu National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for downwind areas of all islands on Sunday as weather conditions turn favorable for wildfires.

“The combination of dry fuels, strong and gusty trade winds and low levels of relative humidity could produce extreme fire behavior on Sunday, particularly during the afternoon hours,” the warning reads. “Any fires that develop will likely spread quickly and be difficult to control.”

Outdoor burning is not recommended, forecasters said.

The warning is in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and replaces a previous fire weather watch.

Forecasters said east to northeast winds would be 15-30 mph gusting up to 50 mph and humidity would be low at 40-45%. Sunday’s high temperature for Honolulu is expected to be 88 degrees.

The weather service also issued a wind advisory for parts of all islands except Niihau for Sunday.

“Winds will accelerate downward, near mountain peaks and ridges, across gaps in terrain and in areas generally exposed to trade winds,” the advisory, which is also in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., said.

Strong winds “can rip shingles, knock down tree limbs, blow up tents and awnings and make steering difficult, especially for drivers of large vehicles,” the forecasters said. “Watch out for falling tree branches when walking or driving. Make sure tents and awnings are secure or take them down. Be prepared for power outages.

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