Red Flag Warning Issued for Okaloosa County and Northwest Florida

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Mobile issued a red flag warning for Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa County, due to the high wildfire danger present in the area. 

 

The warning, which alerts land managers like Eglin Air Force Base to the high fire danger in the area, usually happens when there is low relative humidity, and high winds. Currently, humidity in our normally balmy area is between 15 and 25 percent. 

 

The NWS issued the warning for the western panhandle of Florida and most of southern Alabama. It’ll last through Wednesday. 

 

“People really need to be cautious about what they are doing,” said Niceville Fire Chief Tommy Mayville. “There just isn’t a lot of moisture in the air right now and [a wildfire] seems to be ready to take off with a spark.”

 

Mayville added people should take extra caution when doing the following for the next couple of days. 

 

  • Try not to pull of to the side of the road. Cars’ catalytic converters run at about 1700º fahrenheit and can set fire to brush – especially on the Eglin reservation where it is in plentiful supply. 
  • You should never throw cigarette butts out the window of your car, but that goes double for right now. Many fires start when someone throws their light cigarette butt out the window. 
  • Ensure your charcoals are soaked and smothered in water if you decide to cook out. 

In addition, the US Department of the Interior says you should do the following

 

  • Ensure the maintenance of your small outdoor tools that run on power – like chainsaws or lawnmowers. These tools tend to create more sparks when they aren’t properly maintained. 
  • Check your tires, bearings and axles on trailers. 
  • Don’t burn anything outside right now. Especially if it is windy. 
“There just isn’t a lot of moisture in the air right now and [a wildfire] seems to be ready to take off with a spark.”
Tommy Mayville
Niceville Fire Chief
Area highlighted in pink has a red flag warning issued for it from the National Weather Service in Mobile. Walton County and counties to the east are covered by NWS Tallahassee

Current Wildfires in Florida

Despite the hurricane warnings throughout the state, there are still 10 active wildfires in Florida – most of them in the panhandle. Of those, 10, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Safety (FDACS) reports seven of them are contained as of Tuesday morning The nearest fire to our area is in eastern Walton County. FDACS reports it is currently contained. There are three other wildfires currently burning west of Tallahassee. One is contained in Gulf County, to the east of Panama City. Two more are burning in the St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge to the south of Tallahassee in Wakulla County.

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