A few Indiana counties are under a Red Flag Warning for Wednesday.
The warning lasts from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in a handful of counties, including Benton, Cass, Jasper, Miami and White and several counties to the northeast.
What it means: Windy conditions
The National Weather Service Red issues a Red Flag Warning when it anticipates sustained winds of 20 mph or more with low humidity and warm temperatures.
For Wednesday, forecasters expect winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of up to 30 mph. Drivers should slow down and expect to make steering corrections because of the gusty conditions.
Strong winds could also whip up fires, causing them to get out of control. People should avoid outdoor burning and bonfires when a Red Flag Warning is in effect.
Contributing factor: Dry, hot conditions
For Wednesday, the relative humidity is expected to be as low as 20 percent. Low humidity, combined with dry conditions and the wind, could contribute to the increased risk of fires.
Hoosiers will be at increased risk for dehydration and dry, itchy skin while working outside. People with respiratory issues may also experience problems.
Wednesday is expected to be warm, with a high temperature hovering near 80 degrees in some areas.
People should properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes, which could more easily catch fire under the dry, windy conditions if casually tossed aside. The NWS said a cigarette could ignite dry grass and lead to a wildfire.
Take extra care when dousing a fire to make sure it’s completely out.
Burn bans sometimes issued
It’s not always the case, but municipalities may issue burn bans to go along with a Red Flag Warning.
The state, local, or countywide order is intended to prevent fires from getting out of control.
Open burning could cause major issues. If you have something you need to burn, it’s best to wait until the Red Flag Warning expires.
The National Weather Service offers the following recommendations:
- If you are allowed to burn in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch.
- Do not throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle because they may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.
- Extinguish all outdoor fires properly, using plenty of water and stirring to make sure everything is cold to the touch.
- Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.
- Never leave a fire unattended; sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, ignite a fire, and quickly spread.