Travel advisory: fire conditions, high winds

In this March 2017 file photo, high winds cause low visibility at the scene of a multicar pileup on SR-21, Milford, Utah, March 5, 2017 | Photo by Cherish Wignall, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – With a wind advisory issued for parts of Utah and a red flag warning issued for potential fire conditions in Nevada, travelers are advised to use caution going into the weekend.

Wind to the north

The wind advisory was issued by the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City Thursday and forecasts southerly winds of 25-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph in the western portion of the state through Friday evening.

Affected areas include Southwest Utah, west central Utah and the Salt Lake and Tooele Valleys, including the cities of Cedar City, Beaver, Milford, Delta, Fillmore, Tooele and Salt Lake City.

Read more: Wind expected to complicate travel in western portions of Utah

Motorists in the advisory area should be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds which can make driving difficult.

The strong winds will also create dangerous boating conditions on area lakes. These winds will create very choppy water and generate waves which could capsize or swamp small craft.

Red flag to the south

A red flag warning was issued by the National Weather Service in Las Vegas for southern Nevada below 5,000 ft. through Friday evening, May 12, 2017 | Map from National Weather Service, St. George News. Click to enlarge.

The National Weather Service in Las Vegas issued a red flag warning Friday for areas of southern Nevada below 5,000 feet, in effect until 9 p.m. PDT.

Affected areas include fire weather zones 462, 463 and 464, which includes Interstate 15 from Mesquite to the California state line (see map)

Humidity is expected to be 8-15 percent, with winds from the south to southwest 15 to 25 mph with gusts 35 to 45 mph.

Under these conditions, any fires that develop would likely spread rapidly.

Prevent human-caused wildfires

Below are some tips that can help 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, 2017, all rights reserved.

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