High winds, critical fire weather forecast for areas south of Utah border

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The weekend is forecast to start with hot, windy weather, creating critical fire weather in the Arizona Strip and blustery driving conditions along Interstate 15 into Nevada.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning in effect Friday from noon to 11 p.m. MST Friday in northwest Arizona. A wind advisory is also in effect for northwest Arizona and southern Nevada from 9 a.m. MST to 11 p.m. Friday.

Regionally affected areas

Shaded areas denote region subject to wind advisory. Map generated 12:56 p.m. MST, May 10, 2018 | Image courtesy National Weather Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Several communities and points of interest in the Arizona Strip and along state Route 389 are affected by the wind advisory and red flag warning, including Colorado City and surrounding communities, Pipe Spring National Monument and western Grand Canyon.

While not subject to the red flag warning, southern Nevada is affected by the wind advisory, which includes communities along I-15 in Clark County, including Mesquite and the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Timing

Strong winds will develop Friday afternoon through Friday evening, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph possible in the advisory area.

Minimum afternoon humidity levels of 6 to 12 percent are expected for lower elevations and 10 to 15 percent for higher elevations. Minimum humidity values will climb around 5 percent Friday as moisture increases slightly and temperatures lower.

Precautions

Shaded areas denote region subject to red flag warning. Map generated 12:56 p.m. MST, May 10, 2018 | Image courtesy National Weather Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.

Outdoor burning is not recommended. Heed all fire restrictions.

Strong crosswinds will also make driving difficult at times, especially for high-profile vehicles. Blowing dust and sand will reduce visibility.

Fire prevention tips

St. George News offers the following fire safety tips for those traveling or recreating in the Southwest desert this weekend:

  • Use fireworks with caution; obey fireworks laws and don’t use illegal fireworks.
  • Never park on, or drive through, dry grass.
  • Be careful with off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and the like; use spark arresters – these are required for recreational vehicles in some areas where fire risk is high.
  • If shooting in the outdoors, choose your backdrop carefully; don’t use exploding targets and don’t use jacketed ammunition near dry brush.
  • When camping, make sure your campfire is completely out before you go to bed or leave the area.

Read more: ‘If it can spark, it can cause a fire’: Tips on preventing human-caused wildfires

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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