Red Flag Warning: what it means and how to prevent a brush fire

The red flag warning means firefighters are on alert for brush fires. And that's why they are asking you to use caution when it comes to anything that involves
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:27 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Central Virginia was under a Red Flag Warning on Tuesday. A warning means weather conditions are dry, windy and low humidity, which can easily cause a brush fire.

Firefighters are on high alert during red flag days.

“They cause a lot of challenges,” said Henrico Fire Battalion Chief Douglas Reynolds.

The main causes of brush fires are cigarette butts and charcoal. Make sure the cigarette is completely out before putting it in an ash tray. Also, if you use a charcoal grill, make sure there are no more embers on the coals before disposing of them in the woods or yard.

“We go to businesses and all of a sudden the mulch piles, the bushes around the smoking area, are catching on fire,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds said protecting your house could be as easy as raking up branches and dead leaves, so if a fire does spark, it won’t spread as quick in your yard.

“Have a greenbelt around your house,” Reynolds explained.

You may have even seen firefighters doing the same thing when they fight wildfires, creating that greenbelt with rakes and bulldozers. It’s a practice they had to put into use this February when a fire was sparked by an unusual source.

“Believe it or not it was a lawn mower that threw a belt, which threw a spark, caught the grass on fire, it spread to the field, 70 acres later, 5 hours later we had the fire out. That’s just how quick those little benign things can happen,” said Reynolds.

Virginia’s 4 p.m. burn ban is also in effect through the end of the month.