UPDATED: Hazardous fire weather expected to redevelop

This 2013 photo illustrates fire weather in Southern Utah which occurs when dry conditions combine with thunderstorms and lightning. Here thunderstorm and lightning are seen over the Diamond Valley area of Washington County, Utah, July 23, 2013 | Photo by Yvonne Baur, St. George News

UPDATE: Wednesday’s fire weather outlook was upgraded Thursday to a fire weather watch. A fire weather watch means that there is a potential for critical fire weather conditions. The watch has been issued for weather zone 497 (Mojave desert) which is entirely in Washington County. Gusty southwest winds are expected to reach 15 – 20 mph with gusts in excess of 30 mph. Humidity levels are also expected to be low, at 10 percent or less. The combination of winds and low humidity will create hazardous fire weather conditions during the afternoon. At night, relative humidity is expected to climb to 25 percent or higher and winds are also expected to subside below 15 mph, easing the fire threat.

ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a hazardous fire weather outlook for the western two-thirds of Utah and southwest Wyoming starting Wednesday and extending through the weekend.

A hazardous fire weather outlook means weather conditions will include a combination of low humidity, high heat and increased winds.

Affected area

Southern Utah areas affected by the outlook include Utah’s Dixie, Zion National Park, Glen Canyon Recreation Area-Lake Powell and other southern mountains.

Other affected areas include the Utah portion of Cache Valley, northern Wasatch Front, Salt Lake and Tooele valleys, southern Wasatch Front, Great Salt Lake Desert and mountains, Wasatch mountain valleys, Wasatch Mountains Interstate 80 north, Wasatch Mountains south of I-80, western Uinta Mountains, Wasatch Plateau – Book Cliffs, western Uinta Basin, Castle Country, San Rafael Swell, Sanpete – Sevier Valleys, west-central and south-central Utah, central mountains and southwest Wyoming.

Wednesday

Hazardous weather conditions are expected to redevelop across portions of the outlook area Wednesday — where fire fuels are critically dry — as winds pick back up and the humidity stays very low.

Thursday – Tuesday

Hazardous fire weather conditions are expected to develop once again this weekend as a dry air mass remains in place and winds increase. These conditions could become widespread by Sunday but will have its main impact on the portion of the outlook area where fire fuels are critically dry.

Spotter information statement

Weather spotters are encouraged to report significant weather conditions according to standard operating procedures.

Prevent human-caused wildfires

While people cannot affect the weather, there are a number of things they can do in their everyday and outdoor activities that can prevent human-caused fires.

  • Check and secure chain chains on vehicles, trucks, trailers and the like for both on-road and off-highway use to be sure they don’t drag and hit the ground. Chains against the ground cause sparks that ignite wildfires.
  • Enjoy campfires in permitted areas only, and be sure they are cold to the touch before leaving them. Stir the dirt with water until it is cold.
  • Heed fire restrictions that are in place – read more here.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when target shooting and avoid areas with cheatgrass and dry fuels.
  • Don’t smoke in fire risk areas except within an enclosed vehicle, camp trailer, building, developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 6 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared to mineral soil.
  • Don’t weld, cut or grind metal in fire risk areas.
  • Use fireworks only where permissible in your region. Fireworks safety includes being mindful of your surroundings; not using them near vegetated areas or where you could start structural fires; and putting spent fireworks into a bucket of water, not in a trashcan. If a firework does not ignite, leave it alone – don’t try to reignite it. Have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby as well as a shovel before starting your fireworks.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Bender July 7, 2016 at 11:12 am

    The graphic of a thunderstorm included with this article shows exactly the weather which is not being predicted by NWS.

  • .... July 8, 2016 at 5:12 am

    So ! Pfffffffffft

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