Saturday weather can be dangerous for fires, warning in effect

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A red flag warning for increased fire danger is in effect from Raleigh National Weather Service for most of North Carolina.

The warning area includes Wake, Orange, Durham, Johnston and Alamance counties. The warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday.

Outdoor burning is not recommended, a statement from NWS Raleigh said. If you decide to burn, you are “advised to exercise extreme caution”.

Here are the details of the red flag warning, NWS Raleigh:

  • Affected area: All the center NC.

  • Hourly: Until 9 p.m. on Saturday.

  • Implications: Under these conditions, outdoor fires could easily spiral out of control.

  • Temperatures: From his fifties to his mid-sixties.

  • The winds: Sustained westerly winds 15 to 25 mph. Gusts mainly between 30 and 40 mph.

  • Relative humidity: Between 15% and 20% on southern Piedmont and the Sandhills. Between 20% and 25% elsewhere.

“A red flag warning means critical fire weather conditions are occurring now or will soon. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create dangerous fire behavior, says NWS Raleigh.

How to stay safe during hot fires

Spring fire season is upon us, the NC Forest Service wrote earlier this month. The number one cause of wildfires in our state comes from embers escaping from burning debris.

“Be sure to consider all factors when choosing to burn natural vegetation in your yard, especially on dry, windy days,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler told the Forest Service. “Contact your local ranger for advice on the safest way to burn and make sure you have a valid burn permit. You are the best defense against wildfires.

Here are some ways the NC Forest Service recommends using caution when burning:

  • Avoid flammable liquids: “Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to accelerate the burning of debris.”

  • Avoid household waste: “Domestic waste must be taken to a recycling center or a recycling centre. It is illegal to burn anything other than natural vegetation.
  • Watch the weather“Watch the weather. Does not burn on dry, windy days.
  • stay close: “Stay with your fire until it is completely extinguished.”
  • Practice these barbecue tips“These same tips also apply to campfires and grilling. Douse charcoal briquettes or campfires thoroughly with water. Drown all embers, not just red ones. Once soaked, stir the embers and soak them again. Make sure everything is damp and the embers are cool to the touch. If you don’t have water, mix enough dirt or sand with the embers to extinguish the fire, being careful not to bury the fire. Never throw hot ashes or embers into a wooded area.

For more information and other ways to stay safe when burning outdoors, visit ncforestservice.gov.

This story was originally published March 26, 2022 11:13 a.m.

Kimberly Cataudella (her) is a duty reporter for The News & Observer.

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