A Red Flag Warning has been issued that includes our four-county listening area — O’Brien, Sioux, Osceola, and Lyon Counties. A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will occur in the near future. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and very dry vegetation will produce dangerous wildfire conditions during the afternoon hours.
The Weather Service says gusty southwest winds of 15 to 30 mph, with gusts to 35 mph will develop by late morning ahead of a cold front, gradually shifting to the west in the afternoon. Relative humidity will drop to near 20 percent.
The Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon until 7 PM Monday.
The Weather Service says any fires that ignite will spread rapidly. They advise to postpone outdoor burning.
An open burning ban continues in Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien and Osceola Counties in northwest Iowa, but today it’s extremely critical. It is suggested that people use extreme caution with anything that could get hot, like farm equipment, welding equipment, and smoking materials. Do not throw lit cigarettes from moving vehicles. Even driving through a picked cornfield in a hot vehicle can be dangerous.
Firefighting is also more difficult in these conditions and the Weather Service says fighting fires at the flanks is recommended in red flag conditions.
Incidentally, this is also National Fire Prevention Week.