High winds, dry conditions prompt red flag fire warning
Parts of the Hill Country, including Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties, are under a red flag warning from the National Weather Service from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, due to high winds. Fire officials are urging residents in those areas to take steps to prevent wildfires.
According to the NWS, westerly winds in the morning will turn northerly in the afternoon. Sustained wind speeds of 15-25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph can be expected. Humidity minimums will fall into the teens and 20s percentage-wise over most of the area. This combination of weather with dry vegetation will create favorable conditions for the development and spread of fires, especially in areas where tall grasses and dense shrub cover exists.
Currently, Llano County has a countywide burn ban in place, while Burnet and Blanco counties do not. The cities of Marble Falls and Granite Shoals have issued a burn ban for their municipalities. Many other cities, such as Burnet, require residents to obtain permits before conducting outdoor burning.
Even in areas not under a burn ban, fire and weather officials are urging people to refrain from outdoor burning or conducting activities that could start a fire during this time.
A dry, cool front will move across the Highland Lakes early Thursday, bringing only a slight chance of rain, most likely in the northern section of the Hill Country. The front will usher in lower temperatures as well as stronger winds, some gusting up to 35 mph. Cooler air is expected in the late afternoon.
For more information on outdoor burning, contact your local fire department or city or county offices.