Sioux Falls, SD — The National Weather Service says conditions are right for explosive fire growth today. 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 warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.
The Weather Service says a strong cold front will move eastward to the near James River Valley by late afternoon. Ahead of the front, the winds will be from the south roughly from areas around Yankton and points eastward. The southerly winds will average 15 to 30 mph through the afternoon, with humidity values falling to around 18 percent.
The Red Flag Warning is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM this evening.
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, and O’Brien Counties in our four-county area, 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.
Firefighting is also more difficult in these conditions and the Weather Service says fighting fires at the flanks is recommended in red flag conditions.