10 a.m. Tuesday UPDATE: The National Weather Service upgraded the Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning Tuesday morning. The warning will remain in effect from noon to midnight MDT.

VALE - The National Weather Service in Boise issued a Fire Weather Watch for Tuesday in most of Malheur County and the Baker Valley.

A Fire Weather Watch means “that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur.” 

The watch begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and will go through the evening.

The watch comes as strong thunderstorms with frequent lightning and 50 mph wind gusts are predicted to roll through the area tomorrow. A Fire Weather Watch means “that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur.” 

The weather service said more forecasts may come later today and tomorrow morning that could move the area into a Red Flag Warning category, meaning that “that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will occur shortly.” 

There is currently a Red Flag Warning in the Burns BLM area. 

Al Crouch, fire mitigation/education specialist for the BLM Vale District, said that fuel moisture testing is showing that the area is drier at this point in the year compared to the past several years. With the upcoming weather, Crouch said the fuels will only get drier and fire warnings and restrictions will continue.

“There is a high likelihood that we will be moving in BLM district wide fire restrictions soon,” said Crouch. “We didn’t go into fire restrictions this early last year but we most likely will this year prior to the Fourth of July weekend.”

Crouch said the BLM will release a press release and updated information on its website when a decision is made on the fire restrictions.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.