Wind gusts and low humidity exacerbate fire conditions

Wind sock | Source photo by MWCPhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a red flag warning for wind and low relative humidity in effect from noon to 10 p.m. Monday.

Shaded areas denote regions subject to red flag warning. | Map courtesy National Weather Service, St. George News

High winds combined with low humidity are expected across the area creating critical fire weather conditions, increasing the risk of a wildfire starting and then spreading quickly.

Affected Area

Affected areas include the central mountains and the Color Country mountains, including areas of Garfield, Kane, Washington, Iron and Beaver counties.

Winds

High winds are expected to blow southwest 10 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph, particularly over ridges and around the western slopes of the Tushar Mountains and Pahvant Range.

Humidity

Afternoon humidity will drop to 10 to 15 percent, especially in mid slopes and valleys.

Precautions

Wildfires can occur at any time during the year, but the risk is always greater during dry periods with little or no rainfall, particularly with high winds present. When brush, grass and trees are dry they burn more easily, and high winds can contribute to the fire spreading. The cost associated with wildfires is significant, as federal fire suppression costs are estimated to be between $1 to $2 billion per year, according to information retrieved from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The following fire prevention safety tips are offered by Weather Underground and FEMA:

  • Make a disaster supply kit and have a family emergency plan.
  • National Weather Service watches, alerts and warnings provide information to stay informed.
  • Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area in case you need to evacuate.
  • Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft.
  • Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
  • Place a ladder against the house in clear view to aid firefighters.
  • Place valuable papers, mementos and anything “you can’t live without” inside the car in the garage, ready for quick departure.
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
  • If authorities advise or order you to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Keep vehicles fueled and in good condition with a change of clothes and emergency supplies inside.
  • Drive slowly with your headlights on because smoke can reduce visibility.
  • Watch for other vehicles, pedestrians and fleeing animals.
  • If you expect to go to a shelter after evacuating, download the American Red Cross Shelter Finder App.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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