BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red flag warning for the southeastern portion of Louisiana this week — but what does that mean?

A red flag warning is typically issued when there is a fire risk due to warm temperatures, very low humidities, and strong winds, according to the NWS website.

Tuesday’s red flag warning is in place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parishes currently under a red flag warning in the Baton Rouge area include Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, eastern Ascension, Iberville, northern Livingston, Pointe Coupee, southern Livingston, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, and western Ascension.

To avoid fire risk, NWS shares the following recommendations during a red flag warning:

  • 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.

A day after a 67-year-old man died in an open burning accident, Louisiana State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis is asking residents to stay aware of high fire danger conditions.

“This alert is the result of a lack of rain, the drop in humidity that occurred overnight, and the expectation of increased winds due to the presence of Hurricane Ian in the Gulf,” said Wallis. “Even though this warning is for a certain portion of the state, we are asking all residents to please avoid any open burning this week, just as a precaution, for your safety and the safety of those who live around you.”

Open burning safety tips from Louisiana fire officials:

  • Ensuring weather conditions, including wind speed and direction, are safe for burning
  • Establishing a burn pile at least 75 feet from any structures
  • Creating a five-foot wet control line around the area
  • Avoiding the use of flammable liquids to ignite a burn pile
  • Remaining vigilant over the fire with a water source nearby at all times
  • Alert a loved one or neighbor of your activities or conduct them with help
  • If the fire does get out of control, call 911