The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. has issued a Red Flag Warning for what they call “critical fire conditions” in the Berkshires. The warning was prompted because of low relative humidity, strong gusty winds, and dry wooded areas.

According to forecasters, the Red flag warning is in effect now through 9 PM. The prior fire weather watch is no longer in effect.

The stats for the Berkshires from the National Weather Service:

* Affected area...the Berkshires.

* Wind...northwest winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.

* Humidity...as low as 30 percent during the afternoon hours.

* Impacts...dry weather and gusty winds will result in critical fire weather conditions. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

According to the weather service a Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidity’s, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

If you are allowed to burn in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch. You should contact your local fire department if you are not sure.

Do not throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.

Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.

Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, ignite a fire, and quickly spread.

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