High winds, low humidity create potential for critical fire weather in St. George area

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A forecast of gusty winds and low relative humidity has prompted officials to warn of potentially critical fire weather conditions in Utah during the middle of the week.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a fire weather watch in effect from Tuesday morning through Thursday evening.

Affected area

Shaded areas denote regions subject to fire weather watch in Utah. Radar map generated at 6:03 p.m. MDT, Sept. 9, 2018 | Image courtesy of the National Weather Service, St. George News

In Southern Utah, the fire weather advisory affects the southern portion of Washington County, including in and around the city of St. George.

Most of the northwestern and west-central portions of Utah are also affected, stretching from northern Garfield County to the Utah-Idaho border.

Weather conditions

According to the NWS, a gusty dry southwest flow is expected to develop during the week, with the driest and windiest conditions expected Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

During the advisory period, southwest winds with gusts as high as 40 mph will combine with humidity levels as low as 4 to 8 percent in valleys and 10 to 15 percent in the mountains, with conditions expected to continue overnight Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Weather Channel forecasts temperatures in the mid-to-high 90s in St. George Tuesday through Thursday.

Precautions

While no fire restrictions are currently in effect in southwest Utah, the NWS recommends against any outdoor burning. Any fires that develop during dry, windy weather have the potential to spread rapidly.

For those planning to travel or recreate using ATVs or similar vehicles, the following is advised to help reduce the risk of sparking a wildfire:

  • 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 locations such as areas with tall grass or campsites to check for signs of a developing fire.
  • Always use a spark arrester on internal combustion engines.

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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