The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Cobb County and other counties in the region for Wednesday, May 3, from noon to 8 p.m. due to critical conditions for the spread of fire.
What is in the statement?
The statement gives the following details:
…RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT
THIS EVENING FOR NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA FOR GUSTY WINDS AND
LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…
* Affected Area…Portions of north and central Georgia.
* Timing…Wednesday afternoon into the evening.
* Winds…Northwest at 15 to 20 mph with gusts of 25 to 30 mph.
* Relative Humidity…Minimum relative humidity values from 22
to 25 percent.
* Impacts…Due to low humidity and high winds in addition to
the dry fuels, any fires that develop will likely spread
rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
This warning includes the Chattahoochee and Oconee National
Forests. A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather
conditions are either occurring…or will occur within 24 hours.
Please refer to the local burn permitting authorities on whether
you may burn outdoors. If you do burn outside…use extreme
What is a Red Flag Warning?
The National Weather Service describes a Red Flag Warning as follows:
“A Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.
” -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. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.
“-Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir 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.”
Why does low relative humidity increase the danger of fire?
The National Park Service published the following explanation of why low relative humidity increases the danger of fires:
“Relative humidity is important because dead forest fuels and the air are always exchanging moisture. Low humidity takes moisture from the fuels, and fuels in turn, take moisture from the air when the humidity is high.
“Light fuels, such as grass and pine needles, gain and lose moisture quickly with changes in relative humidity. When the RH drops, fire behavior increases because these fine fuels become drier.
“Heavy fuels, on the other hand, respond to humidity changes more slowly. To see significant changes in heavy fuel moisture, there must be significant moisture, usually from more than a single storm.”
What counties are affected?
The following counties are included in the hazardous weather outlook:
Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Chattooga, Gordon, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Floyd, Bartow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks, Jackson, Madison, Polk, Paulding, Cobb, North Fulton, Gwinnett, Barrow, Clarke, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Wilkes, Haralson, Carroll, Douglas, South Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale, Walton, Newton, Morgan, Greene, Taliaferro, Heard, Coweta, Fayette, Clayton, Spalding, Henry, Butts, Jasper, Putnam, Hancock, Warren, Troup, Meriwether, Pike, Upson, Lamar, Monroe, Jones, Baldwin, Washington, Glascock, Jefferson, Harris, Talbot, Taylor, Crawford, Bibb, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Johnson, Emanuel, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Marion, Schley, Macon, Peach, Houston, Bleckley, Laurens, Treutlen, Stewart, Webster, Sumter, Dooly, Crisp, Pulaski, Wilcox, Dodge, Telfair, Wheeler, Montgomery, Toombs
What precautions should be taken?
The National Weather Service recommends extreme caution if you do outdoor burning during high fire danger conditions, and that you check your local fire ordinances.
About the National Weather Service
The National Weather Service (NWS) is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The NWS describes its role as follows:
“The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, water, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.
“These services include Forecasts and Observations, Warnings, Impact-based Decision Support Services, and Education in an effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation.
“The ultimate goal is to have a society that is prepared for and responds to weather, water and climate events.”