LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Large portions of Louisiana and Texas are under a “red flag warning” from the National Weather Service (NWS) today — but what does that mean?

According to the NWS, a red flag warning means that conditions are ripe for fires to either break out or get out of control. Specifically today, the combination of low relative humidity below 25%, northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph, and relatively dry conditions will produce a high fire danger across southeast Texas, central, and southern Louisiana today.

“A Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger,” states the NWS website.

NWS officials recommend the following on red flag warning days:

  • 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.
  • 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.