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Environment & Energy

Ohio Red Flag Warnings Indicate Risk of Rapidly-Spreading Wildfires

photo of Canton Fire Department Truck 1

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for much of Ohio Tuesday. The warning, which has since expired, meant that conditions were good for wild lands to catch fire and for that fire to spread quickly.

As it turns out, these warnings don’t happen very often, according to Kent State University professor of geography Tom Schmidlin who focuses on climatology.

“We don’t have a red flag warning too often in northeast Ohio because it’s typically wetter here, but the warm, very warm weather this week and low humidities and high winds combined means that any fire that gets started in a meadow or a wildland is liable to spread very quickly," he says. 

Even though we’ve had a wet spring, Schmidlin says, not enough greenery has come up which would help reduce the risk of fires.

During red flag warnings, outdoor burning should be avoided altogether.