Dry conditions creating dangerous situations

February 24, 2011 10:10:49 AM PST
The current dry conditions are creating dangerous situations all across North Carolina.Firefighters have responded to dozens of wildfires across the state since last weekend that have been fueled by the dry ground and windy conditions.

Fire officials say the fire danger will remain Friday despite rain in the forecast.

They say while the rain is welcomed, residents shouldn't think it's going to change the fire danger warning the state is experiencing.

"Even if we do get some rain from this storm that's coming in the next day or two, it's probably not going to be enough to reduce any kind of fire danger," Deputy Fire Marshall Ronald Campbell said. "So it's going to be dry and people shouldn't take the rain that's coming in for more than that - it's a little bit of rain, it's going to be dry and dangerous."

Fire experts say it will take a lot more than the storm headed our way to really reduce the fire danger.

"We would need a few days of good steady rain to reduce the fire danger, so really this rain that's coming in it's just not going to be enough to reduce that risk," Campbell said. "They should be careful with cigarette butts, if they are cooking outdoors using a grill make sure they are careful."

Officials say residents also need to be careful with how much water they are consuming. Falls Lake - Raleigh's main water supply - remains two feet below normal and the latest drought monitor shows 27 counties in the state are in a severe drought -- including Wake, Durham and Johnston counties.

"It's pretty dry right now and a lot of the bigger fires in Raleigh's history happened in this time of year when it's dry, low humidity and windy, so people need to be mindful," Campbell said.

Authorities say it only takes one cigarette to lead to a serious situation. Friday is also expected to be windy, which only helps to fan the flames.

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