‘Red flag’ conditions rising in Washington County, how to prevent wildfires

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for western Washington County in effect Tuesday through Wednesday morning, meaning the region will be vulnerable to fire due to warm temperatures, winds and low humidity.

Dots indicate the area subject to the red flag warning, Aug.,17, 2015 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge
Dots indicate the area subject to the red flag warning, Aug.,17, 2015 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

Strong winds will occur northeast at 15-24 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, particularly along the Interstate 15 corridor along the mountains of western Washington County Tuesday morning and again Tuesday night.

Relative humidity is expected to drop below 15 percent Tuesday morning and into the single digits Tuesday afternoon, rising above 15 percent Tuesday night.

The alert will be in effect from 4 a.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Washington County has a history of wildfires in the late spring and summer months when fires are often human-caused, especially during red flag conditions.

Some things to pay attention to include:

In a vehicle:

  • Avoid driving or parking your vehicle in tall grass
  • Never throw a lighted cigarette out of a vehicle
  • When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires
  • Look behind you before driving away from fire-sensitive as areas, those with tall grass or campsites, to check for signs of a developing fire
  • Always use spark arresters on internal combustion engines; spark arresters are also required for recreational vehicles in some areas where fire risk is high

In your own or any surrounding environment: 

  • Before you do a planned burn, be sure you can legally burn in your area; check with local authorities and obtain a permit
  • Check the weather before you light a fire; high winds, high temperatures and low humidity radically intensify fire
  • Choose a safe burning site away from trees, bushes, brush, buildings or other flammable fuels
  • Be prepared to extinguish your fire quickly; have water, a fire extinguisher or the like on hand
  • Don’t burn garbage, waste, construction debris, plastic, foam, rubber or other offensive substances
  • Always extinguish the fire completely before you leave it
  • In the outdoors, be responsible with cigarettes and charcoal grills, and only dispose of ashes and such in an ashtray or ashcan
  • Be careful using tools that generate heat or sparks
  • Don’t use fireworks; fireworks are not permitted in Utah again until Dec. 31; read more here
  • Be careful with the use of heat or spark-generating tools
  • If shooting in the outdoors, choose your backdrop carefully; don’t use exploding targets and don’t use jacketed ammunition near dry brush

More: Wildfires: How you can stop them before they start

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