Winds, dry weather spark brush fire warning in region -- Gazette.Net


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The National Weather Service issued a “Red Flag Warning” for Prince George’s County and the surrounding region today due to heavy winds and low humidity that could increase the chance of brush fires.

The warning notes a relatively low humidity of 20 to 25 percent, dry air, winds up to 30 miles per hour and a low fuel moisture, meaning grass, bushes and trees are dry and can easily ignite.

The warning is in effect from noon until 8 p.m. today.

Prince George’s County’s fire/EMS department is advising residents to be mindful of outdoor combustibles and limit their use of power tools near dry brush.

“Please use due diligence and care today in extinguishing smoking materials, cigarettes, cigars, etc., in a proper container,” said Mark Brady, a county fire/EMS department spokesman. “If you see a fire, call 911 immediately.”

Last year, Prince George’s saw a spate of five house fires and dozens of brush fires during an April weekend when NWS had issued a Red Flag Warning for similar conditions.

In 2011, a mixture of warm winter weather and high winds up to 60 miles per hour in February resulted in hundreds of wildfires Feb. 19, which fire officials have said was one of the department’s busiest days.

The day had 821 calls for service relating to house and brush fires, including a 250-acre brush fire in Clinton and a 60-acre brush fire in Baden, fire officials have said.

djgross@gazette.net