ST. GEORGE — A red flag warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for all Southern Utah counties. While portions of Washington County are not included in the warning, the most southwestern portion of the county is included in a hazardous weather watch that is forecasting critical fire weather conditions.
According to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office, the red flag warning is in effect from noon on Tuesday to 9 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to impact Washington, Iron, Beaver, Kane and Garfield counties.
The warning was issued due to predicted southwest winds of 10-20 mph with gusts of up to 35 mph and a relative humidity as low as 6%. A previously-issued fire weather watch is no longer in effect; however, critical fire weather conditions are possible for the next seven days, and any fire starts will spread rapidly, according to the National Weather Service.
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.
Precautions and preparedness
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.
For the most current conditions, warnings and advisories, go to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office website.
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