Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What the 'Red Flag Fire Warning' means for our community

A message from Battalion Chief Jim Resnick:

The entire Washington DC Metropolitan Area is under a Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service.  This warning is an indicator to firefighting agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation. Red Flag Warnings are usuallly brought on by drought conditions and when humidity levels are very low, and can be exascerbated by high or erratic winds. 

What does this mean in and around Bethesda? 

There is a significantly increased risk of mulch or vegetation fires.  Often, these types of fires are caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.  The Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service often sees these fires occurring near the entrances and/or designated smoking areas of all types of buildings (commerical, residential, educational, etc.), and along roadways.

Precautionary measures and recommendations:
  • Smokers should be asked not to discard matches or cigarettes into mulch, planters, grass, bushes, etc.  Consider placing signs near these locations to remind smokers of these warnings.
  • Matches and cigarettes should be disposed of in closed containers or in containers with water (preferred) or sand.
  • To the extent possible, areas of mulch or vegetation should be watered thoroughly and frequently.
  • To the extent possible, dead vegetation should be cut back or removed and disposed of correctly.
Following these steps during this Red Flag Warning should help to significantly reduce the chance of a fire, and will make for a safer community for all of us.  The Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service thanks you for your support.

Battalion Chief Jim Resnick
Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service
Battalion 2 - serving the communities of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo, and Potomac