THE CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS
For Immediate Release
March 26, 2015
CONTACT: Sue Butler
Fire and Life Safety Specialist
INFORMATION ABOUT RED FLAG WARNINGS AND BURN BANS
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread. It is also known as Fire Weather Warning. Such a warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service. The weather criteria for a fire weather watch and red flag warnings vary with each Weather Service Office’s warning area based on the local vegetation type, topography, and distance from major water sources. They usually include the daily vegetation moisture content calculations. Low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuel or any combination thereof are considered. The bottom line is that there is an elevated risk for explosive fire growth. A combination of factors are involved, including extremely dry air (humidity levels are at levels typical for the Sonoran Desert in Arizona), gusty winds, low fuel moisture (this is an important characteristic that affects how a fire will burn; there is live fuel moisture & dead fuel moisture). All combined are a recipe for major problems.
WHAT TO DO when Red Flag Warning has been issued:
• Take the warning seriously.
• Dispose of smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished. Businesses should have appropriate containers in areas when smoking occurs outside.
• Do not burn brush or trash without appropriate approval – Call the local fire department for a burn permit.
• Try not to 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, put ashes 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.
A Burn Ban, on the other hand, is exactly what the name implies – no outside burning of any kind is permitted until the ban is lifted. Open burning at this time is considered extremely dangerous to people, buildings, trees and grasslands. Violations can be serious. The burn ban prohibits anyone from openly burning waste, like dried leaves or other brush. When issued, all burning shall cease until lifted. The County Judge issues a Burn Ban after consulting the County Fire Marshal and the Arkansas Forestry Commission, which provides climate data and fuel moisture data.
It simple, just take the warnings and alerts seriously and check your local area webpages for what is allowed. The City’s website is www.fayetteville-ar.gov and the Washington County website is www.co.washington.ar.us.