Expected windy conditions and low humidity bring high fire danger to Cobb County

A flame on a red flag plus the Cobb County Courier logo

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Cobb County and other counties in the region, with parts of central Georgia under a red flag warning for high danger of fire for Saturday February 24.  The conditions triggering this alert are low humidity combined with expected high winds.

What is in the statement?

The statement gives the following details:

This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for portions of North and Central Georgia.

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.DAY ONE…Today and Tonight…

High fire danger exists today with a red flag warning being issued

for portions of central Georgia. Low relative humidities and wind

gusts up to 30 mph can be expected which will result in high fire

danger for north and central Georgia.

A Wind Advisory has been issued for sustained winds up to 20 mph

with gusts up to 30 mph are forecast for all of north and central

Georgia

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Sunday through Friday…

The probability for widespread hazardous weather is low.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT…

Spotter activation will not be needed through tonight.

What is a Red Flag Warning?

A “Red Flag Alert” from the National Weather Service (NWS) is a critical warning indicating extreme fire danger due to a combination of weather conditions. This alert is issued when the forecasted weather includes low humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, or the potential for dry lightning strikes, creating a heightened risk for wildfire ignition and rapid spread. The criteria for a Red Flag Warning can vary by region, reflecting local climate, vegetation, and topography, but the underlying concern is consistently the potential for explosive fire growth.

When a Red Flag Warning is in effect, it signals to firefighting agencies, land managers, and the public to be on high alert. Residents in affected areas are advised to exercise caution with any outdoor activities that could produce a spark or flame. This includes postponing yard work, avoiding outdoor burning, and properly disposing of cigarettes. Additionally, local authorities might implement temporary restrictions to further reduce fire risks, such as bans on open fires or fireworks.

Understanding and adhering to the precautions during a Red Flag Alert is crucial for community safety, helping to prevent the outbreak and spread of wildfires, and protecting both people and property from the devastating effects of uncontrolled fires.

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:

Baldwin, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Bleckley, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Dodge, Dooly, Douglas, Emanuel, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Glascock, Gordon, Greene, Gwinnett, Hall, Hancock, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Marion, Meriwether, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Murray, Muscogee, Newton, North Fulton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Rockdale, Schley, South Fulton, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Telfair, Toombs, Towns, Treutlen, Troup, Twiggs, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, White, Whitfield, Wilcox, Wilkinson, Wilkes

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.

>> To read a summary of Cobb County’s fire ordinances follow this link

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.”

Read all the Cobb County Courier climate and weather coverage by following this link.

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