In the state of Maryland, various warnings are posted by the State Fire Marshal’s office to warn residents regarding fire risks. A “Red Flag Warning” is the highest level of warning, usually indicating that several brush fires are occurring or had occurred. In an effort to keep residents safe, the alert is posted online, with local news services such as newspapers, radio and television stations. Thursday morning, March 24, the Red Flag Warning was posted.
“A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly,” according to the national weather service. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”
In case a fire occurs, the potential for rapidly spreading flames is extremely high and dangerous, the weather service advised. The weather reports for the afternoon and early evening indicate potential wind gusts will be up to 35 mph. These conditions will greatly hamper efforts by fire crews to contain the fire.
Warnings to residents include: no outdoor burning; beware of lit cigarettes or matches; and insure that any lit item is completely out before discarding such items. This “Red Flag Warning” was released and posted to central and southern Maryland, specifically Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Marys counties as well as the District of Columbia. A “hazardous weather outlook” warning was issued for Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties because of low humidity and low fuel moisture, which enhance the potential for wildfires to spread. Areas that are especially wooded areas should be closely monitored.
The Essex area of east Baltimore County has several large wooded areas. The west side of the county has several identified forests. County officials have asked residents to be on the alert to insure their safety.
These warnings were posted due to the numerous brush fires that had fire fights battling blazes along the CSX tracks which caused long delays for the trains running Wednesday evening. Several roads were closed due to heavy smoke as crews battled the brush fires. Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George’s counties had various fire companies battling brush fires after 5 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Crews from Baltimore and Carrol County were called in to assist in getting the fires under control.
Limited service along the Camden rail line was announced for Thursday as a result of Wednesday’s fires and the high risk of more fires.
Be sure to notice any changes in the weather or any sign of smoke. Be sure to call 911 for immediate response.