January 4, 2013: The RED FLAG WARNING has been LIFTED for Washington County effective Immediately
In an effort to increase public awareness regarding daily burn conditions in the county, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Fire Marshal Department has implemented a FIRE FLAG AWARENESS PROGRAM. This program is designed to help make our citizens aware of when weather conditions may not be suitable for outside burning. Many surrounding counties and states have similar programs already in place, and due to the number of grass, brush, and forest fires we have in our county each year, particularly those that threaten or involve structures, we hope this prevention effort will help decrease the number of those types of fires.
How the program works:
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office Fire Marshal Department, in conjunction with the Washington County Office of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, monitors and assesses conditions daily. There are two fire danger levels that we address. The designation for the high fire threat level is a sign with the words RED FLAG. The next step up from a RED FLAG is a BURN BAN. When a BURN BAN is issued, all outdoor burning shall cease throughout the duration of the ban. The criteria we use to help make our flag determinations is as follows:
-Previous weather conditions (24 to 48 hours), rainfall, temperature, humidity, and wind velocities.
-Present conditions under the same criteria
-Forecast data from the National Weather Service, plus the fire danger forecast from the National Weather Service.
Definition of high fire threat (Red Flag):
HIGH: Fires will start and spread rapidly. Every fire has the potential to become large, and will be difficult to control. Expect extreme and erratic fire behavior. Outside burning during this period should be avoided if at all possible.
Each volunteer fire department is responsible for posting the signs in their community at the appropriate time and at the designated location of their choosing.