SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning Thursday for southern and central Utah. Residents living in those areas may have already received a push alert.

With wildfire season in full effect, it may be helpful to know what a red flag warning is and what you can or cannot do during this time.

The term Red Flag Warning has been used since the 1960s by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) fire weather forecasters to alert people to an ongoing or imminent critical fire weather pattern.

Different regions use different factors to determine the factor.

According to the National Weather Service, 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.

With this increased risk of fire danger, comes limitations.

If you’re driving in a car, you do not want to throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving car because they may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.

All outdoor fires should also be extinguished properly.

How do you properly extinguish an outdoor fire?

  •  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.

If you are allowed to burn in the area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch.

There have been concerns among the NWS and fire agency personnel that the Red Flag Warning is not an effective messaging medium.

The warning is issued so frequently that agencies and the public are becoming numb to the alerts under the assumption that the warnings are less meaningful.