WASHINGTON — The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the entire D.C. region through 6 p.m. Sunday.
The warning went into effect 7 a.m. Sunday. It means with winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour and gusts of up to 40 miles per hour and humidity levels at less than 25 percent, critical fire conditions could occur.
Temperatures were expected to be 20 degrees below normal with howling winds and snow flurries.
Around 10 a.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington reported around 10 a.m. they were getting multiple reports of accidents on Highway 15 in Frederic County due to snowy roads.
But it is the low humidity, blustery winds, and dry tinder that can make for a high risk of wildfires.
“This is a perfect recipe for brush fires, or other outside fires to ignite, and also include the rapid spread of that fire,” says Mark Brady, chief spokesperson for Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department.
The county also has a list of tips to limit fire hazards:
Throw away smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished. Do not discard these items into any open area. Do not throw smoking materials out of your vehicle when driving.
Use caution when using power tools outdoors, especially those that will generate a spark and have an extinguishing agent (water hose, bucket of sand or portable extinguisher) nearby while working outdoors.
Business owners and property managers should have appropriate disposable containers in areas where smoking occurs outside.
Limit the use of outside grills or cooking equipment during the watch. If you must use a grill, ensure you have some type of extinguishing agent nearby (water hose, bucket of sand, fire extinguisher). And be on the lookout for any issued Red Flag Warnings when it is recommended that all outdoor cooking cease.
Never park your vehicle on top of a pile of leaves.
Use common sense and practice sound fire safety habits.
WTOP’s Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.