Red flag warning for brush fire potential this afternoon

It’s dry, windy, and there hasn’t been a lot of rain lately.  These are the classic ingredients conducive to the spread of brush fires.

Recognizing this potential, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for much of the region through 8 p.m.  this evening.  The warning extends up the I-95 corridor into southern New England

A Red Flag Warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.  It is issued when “a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels will create explosive fire growth potential” according to the National Weather Service.

Fairfax County reminds Virginia residents that the statewide burning law “prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 – April 30) if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.”

Yesterday, brush fires broke out northeast of Baltimore and in Charles County, Maryland.

Prince George’s County published the following outdoor fire safety tips last year:

* Dispose of smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished. Do not discard these items into any open area as they may start a fire that will spread rapidly. Do not dispose of smoking materials out of your vehicle when traveling.

* Business owners and property managers should have appropriate disposable containers in areas where smoking occurs outside.

* Do not burn brush or trash ever without appropriate approval.

* We request that you not use outside grills or cooking equipment during these times. If you must, ensure you have some type of extinguishing agent nearby (water hose, bucket of sand, fire extinguisher, etc.)

* If you have fireplace ashes; you must put them into a sealed metal container placed on a concrete surface away from any structures. If possible – wait to clean your fireplace until this weather event is over.

* Use common sense and practice sound fire safety habits.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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