Every spring, there is a narrow window of a few weeks where brush fires become a concern across the Finger Lakes. For the most part, our vegetation has yet to green up much, so most of the ground cover is still dead, dry vegetation from last year. This is perfect fuel for brush fires under the right conditions.
Those conditions will be met today at least somewhat. The recent rainfall we have had will do a little to mitigate what would otherwise be a higher risk. Dry air will move into the region this afternoon behind a subtle front, sending relative humidity values below 40%. This front will also bring strong winds, with gusts this afternoon over 30mph. Temperatures will also rise into the upper 60s to near 70º with a good deal of sunshine. These are all factors that are favorable for the development and rapid spread of brush fires today, which, of course, can easily spread to structures and houses.
Further east and south, where less rain has fallen recently, Red Flag Warnings have been issued for the high fire risk by the local National Weather Service Offices. The Storm Prediction Center, however, has everywhere in the orange shading in their ‘elevated’ fire danger ranking today.
Our fire danger will likely pass in the coming weeks as the plants begin to grow more. But until then, use extreme caution today- even a carelessly thrown cigarette can quickly spark a blaze! And don’t forget to thank your local firefighters for all they do to keep our communities safe!