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For the second time this week, the National Weather Service has issued a "red flag" warning for Saturday, citing "dangerous conditions" for burning from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The affected area includes central Illinois east of the Illinois River to the Indiana border.

Affected Illinois counties include Clark, Mason, Lawrence, Sangamon, Woodford, Tazewell, McLean, De Witt, Menard, Piatt, Champaign, Vermilion, Macon, Moultrie, Douglas, Coles, Edgar, Crawford, Clay, Effingham, Richland, Christina, Cumberland, Cass, Scott and Shelby counties.

South winds are forecast to gust from 45 to 50 mph during the afternoon north of a line from Taylorville to Danville, and from 35 to 45 mph south of there.

With the high winds and humidity at around 20 to 25 percent during the afternoon, fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.

The weather service states that the threat is greatest in rural areas where harvest activities are occurring. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

The NWS "red flag" warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

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