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STATEWIDE–Nearly the entire state is under a red flag warning, says the National Weather Service. That warning is issued to let people know that conditions are favorable for fires to pop up and spread. The warning is in effect for all of central and southern Indiana as well as portions of northern Indiana.

“This is a situation where, in addition to the high winds, there’s really dry air. We can trace this dry air all the way back up into the northern Rockies and western Canada. It’s coming in behind this system that we had that brought some rain Wednesday. If you combine all that with the fact that we haven’t had very much rain in the last week or so, that can bring some critical, fire weather conditions,” said Randy Bowers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

Wind gusts are expected to be between 30 and 40 miles per hour at times Thursday and Friday. You are being urged not to burn things outside.

While everyone needs to be mindful of the fire threat, Bowers mentioned a couple of areas that might need to be particularly careful.

“In central Indiana, there is some concern from I-70 southward. That would include areas like the Hoosier National Forest and other more forested areas. Those are more difficult to contain because of the dry and windy conditions,” said Bowers.

Bowers and other meteorologists are urging you not to burn anything outdoors.

“Throwing cigarettes out the window is probably not a good idea either. Neither is burning leaves. It wouldn’t take much to start a fire in that scenario with these conditions. The fuels are so dry, so is the grass. The wind can carry the flames too, so that puts us in a little bit of a dangerous situation when it comes to fire,” said Bowers.

He believes the conditions will improve starting Saturday.