Countywide

Red Flag Warning in effect for Fairfax County, indicating danger of fires

Fairfax County firefighters respond to a brush fire in Annandale on April 13, 2023 (via FCFRD/Twitter)

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area.

In effect from noon until 8 p.m. today (Tuesday), the alert says a combination of strong wind gusts and low humidity have raised the risk of outdoor fires.

“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly,” the NWS said. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”

The full alert is below:

…RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR VIRGINIA, SOUTHERN MARYLAND, AND EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA PANHANDLE…

* WINDS…West 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…As low as 15 percent.

* IMPACTS…Critical fire weather conditions are expected through this evening. All outdoor burning is discouraged, as fires could rapidly spread and become uncontrollable.

* FUEL MOISTURE…Dropping to around 7 or 8 percent.

It’s a higher-level warning than the “elevated threat” alert that the NWS issued last Wednesday (April 12) when there were similar weather conditions.

The Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management and Security advises that cigarettes and other smoking materials should be disposed properly in water, sand or an ash tray.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said there were “several reports of brush fires” last week. A brush fire near the Evergreen House apartments in Annandale on Thursday (April 13) affected about 2 acres of land, though the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported that there were no injuries.

Virginia’s spring fire season typically falls between Feb. 15 and April 30, according to the state’s forestry department.

The D.C. area is currently in the midst of its warmest year on record, the Capital Weather Gang reported, with the 46.9-degree average temperature at Dulles International Airport surpassing the previous record in 2012 by 1 degree.