Fire and wind and heat, oh my! National Weather Service issues multiple alerts for weekend

This file photo shows a structure going up in flames during the 1450 Fire in Hurricane, Utah, on May 18, 2020. | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office has issued both a red flag warning and wind advisory for various parts of Southern Utah over the weekend.

Current weather alerts as of May 29 at 6:13 a.m. | Image from National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office, St. George News | Click to enlarge

The two alerts come on the last day of an excessive heat watch in Washington County that is forecasting triple digit temperatures in Utah’s Dixie and Zion National Park. The heat watch is set to expire Friday at midnight.

According to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office, the red flag warning goes into effect Saturday at noon and will last through Sunday at 8 p.m. The warning is forecasting “critical fire weather conditions” in the central and Color Country West Desert, as well as the Mojave Desert and Grand Staircase. Relative humidity is expected to drop as low as 9-12%.

Accompanying the red flag warning will be a high wind advisory from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday that will affect west-central and southwest Utah, including the cities of Cedar City, Fillmore and Delta. The wind advisory is forecasting south winds of 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.

According to the advisory, power outages are possible, and people are advised to secure outdoor objects and use caution when driving. Strong cross winds on Interstate 80 and other east-west routes will cause difficult travel for high profile and lightweight vehicles. Local areas of reduced visibility in blowing dust are possible.

Precautions and preparedness

For the most current conditions, warnings and advisories, go to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office website.

Red flag or fire weather warning

In this file photo, fire crews move in at Anderson Junction near Toquerville, Utah, on May 18, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

If you are traveling or planning to recreate using ATVs or similar vehicles, take the following precautions to avoid starting 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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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