ST. GEORGE – The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for fire weather in parts of Southern Utah and southeast Nevada
The Utah warning will be in effect from noon Saturday through midnight Sunday.
The Nevada warning goes into effect Saturday from 11 a.m through 8 p.m. It also covers the portion of the Arizona Strip that Interstate 15 crosses between Utah and Nevada.
A fire weather watch issued by the NWS Thursday morning was upgraded to a red flag warning by the afternoon as the threat of fire weather conditions continued to rise.
A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or are imminent. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
Across Southern Utah that includes the areas of the Mojave Desert and Grand Staircase, central Utah mountains and the Henry Mountains below 6,000 feet, as well as portions of Beaver, Piute, Sevier, Milliard, Garfield, Kane, San Juan, Wayne and Washington counties.
Impacted areas in Nevada includes the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Las Vegas, Mesquite, Sheep Range, the Spring Mountains and portions of Lincoln, Clark and Nye counties, as well as parts of Mohave County, Arizona.
Southwest winds 15-25 mph with gusts over 40 mph are expected. Areas in the central Utah and Henry Mountains under 6,000 feet will experience southbound winds between 20 to 30 mph with gusts around 45 mph.
In southeast Nevada, winds are anticipated the reach between 20 to 35 mph with gusts around 40 mph.
Saturday afternoon is expected to be at 15 percent or less in areas of the central Utah mountains and Henry Mountains under 6,000 feet. Other areaswill experience afternoon humidity of 10 percent or less. The overall area will experience poor humidity recovery at night.
In southeast Nevada, the humidity will be 6 to 8 percent in the valleys and 8 to 12 percent in the mountains.
Any fires that develop will have the potential to spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
Precautions and preparedness
If you are traveling this weekend or planning to recreate using ATVs or similar vehicles, the following is advised to help reduced 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.
Additional tips can be found here: ‘If it can spark, it can cause a fire’: Tips on preventing human-caused wildfires
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