Banks, News, Weather

‘Red Flag Warning’ warns of dangerous fire weather conditions

As families prepare to celebrate Independence Day with the traditional lighting of explosives, fire and weather agencies are warning of other explosive conditions: The potential for wildfires to ignite and spread fast Tuesday and Wednesday.

“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly,” the Portland office of the National Weather Service said in their warning, which was issued early Tuesday morning and runs until 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The forecast calls for high temperatures in the mid to high 90’s Tuesday and Wednesday; low humidity, and windy conditions.

“Conditions may be favorable for rapid spread on any new or existing fires,” the NWS said. “Extreme fire behavior is possible, especially from established fires.”

The agency had earlier issued a heat advisory in light of the high temperatures as well.

A north wind of 6 to 14 miles per hour with gusts as high as 30 mph are expected Tuesday, with the strongest winds developing Tuesday afternoon well into the night. After lessening for a few hours Wednesday morning, west-northwest winds are expected to pick up, blowing at 6 to 14 mph with 30 mph gusts Wednesday afternoon into the night.

The annual fireworks show in Banks is expected to continue, starting around 10 p.m. after the last race at Sunset Speedway. Forest Grove’s show will not be held due to budgetary reasons. In Banks, volunteer firefighters will be on standby as per usual, the district confirmed in a message to this newspaper.

“Every year fires are started by the improper, or illegal use, of fireworks,” Banks Fire spokesperson Mitch Ward said.

“We ask simply that people just be responsible with their use of fireworks. Keep it legal, keep it safe, and enjoy the holidays.”

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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