A red flag warning is in effect Wednesday night across northwest Pennsylvania.

Leaders from local fire departments are warning people about the dangers of backyard fires as parts of western Pennsylvania — including Erie County — are under red flag fire warning conditions.  

This warning, issued by the National Weather Service, means a higher risk of wildfire growth and spread. The high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures after several days of no rain makes it easier for fires to form.

“If you light something, even if you think you have it under control, it’s very easy to lose control. Two years ago we had numerous, numerous fires where it started out as a trash, some sticks or a recreational fire spread to a structure, a house, a vehicle, several structures. Several vehicles. We’re in that same situation right now,” said Chief Patrick Davis, Edinboro Fire Department.

The chief explained how this specialized vehicle is beneficial when fighting brush fires.  

“This one’s more maneuverable. It can go off-road, it’s four-wheel drive. It has better capability with that. Smaller pump, less water capacity, specialized tools, things like a chain saw, a leaf blower. Brush fire fighting requires specialized tools and training,” Chief Davis explained.

The vehicle holds 150 gallons of water. However, Davis said fire warnings could be in effect until it rains again.

“These are the type of resources on days, like today, that deplete very quickly. It takes two or three sometimes for these to combat a moderate to a larger brush fire,” Chief Davis said.