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National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The National Weather Service issued a "red flag" warning today to 82 of Missouri's 114 counties. Officials asked residents to refrain from burning wood because high winds and low humidity create prime conditions for fires to spread.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Captain Jay Bradley of the Ozark Fire District says adding 25 to 35 mile per hour winds, freezing temperatures, and low humidity to fighting a fire makes a job much more difficult.

"It can be challenging," said Cpt. Bradley. "The wind is going to fuel a fire, spread it faster than it would. When humidity is low, there's the lack of moisture in the air."

Conditions, prime for a fire to spread, led the National Weather Service to issue a "red flag" warning-- urging residents to avoid burning outdoors.

"Typically we don't issue red flag warnings this time of year," said Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Due to the recent wind conditions that we've had the last couple of weeks, with the wind speeds, and the low relative humidity, it's created some fire weather dangers."

The warning comes after a string of multiple fires this winter... Most recently, a large structure fire at industrial wood products in Ozark.

"We  had a lot of challenges that day," said Cpt. Bradley. "We had the cold weather, 30 plus mile per hour winds. We couldn't get enough man power because of the cold to keep people rotating a rehab to get breaks-- so it was hard.

By 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, the Ozark Fire Department had addressed three fires, all of which were related to the weather conditions and people burning wood.

Cpt. Bradley said his team is ready to tackle any fires, but encouraged people to follow the warning.

"Until we can get these winds below 15, maybe even ten miles an hour, but definitely get the winds below 15 miles per hour-- let's get a little moisture, let's get some rain or snow and let's some precipitation there before you burn. It's not worth it. It's your life, it's your property, it's your neighbor's property-- it's not worth it," said Cpt. Bradley.

Lindenberg said he advises people to not burn outdoors past the 8 p.m. cut off of the warning. He said wind speeds of less than 20 to 25 mph create safer conditions to burn outdoors.











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