The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch that is in effect Friday afternoon for portions of Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the Eastern West Virginia Panhandle. The forecast conditions create dangerous fire conditions and include:
- Humidity levels of 25-30 percent
- Winds out of the West at 25 to 30 MPH with gusts expected up to 50 MPH
- Fuel moisture at 5-7 percent
A fire weather watch means that conditions are forecast to occur that are conducive for the ignition and spread of wildfires. If conditions change the status could could be upgraded to a Red Flag Warning. A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wild land fire ignition and propagation.
After drought conditions, and when humidity is very low, and especially when high or erratic winds, the Red Flag Warning becomes a critical statement for firefighting agencies, which often alter their staffing and equipment resources dramatically to accommodate the forecast risk.
To the public, a Red Flag Warning means high fire danger with increased probability of a quickly spreading vegetation fire in the area within 24 hours.
Affected areas include:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-WASHINGTON-FREDERICK MD-CARROLL-
NORTHERN BALTIMORE-HARFORD-MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-
PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-CENTRAL AND EASTERN ALLEGANY-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-NORTHERN FAUQUIER-HAMPSHIRE-