As dry days continue, warning issued for heightened risk of fires

Monique John Image
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
National Weather Service warns of higher fire risk due to drought
The National Weather Service put most of the state under alert of increased fire danger Tuesday.

NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) -- The National Weather Service put most of the state under alert of increased fire danger Tuesday.

Officials say a recent drought has sparked this, and they're asking people to avoid certain activities that could endanger themselves and their communities.

"They usually come out in the spring and fall," said Captain Don Tschida of the Fayetteville Fire Department. "It's a combination of things with drought conditions, you have low humidity in the air, excessive winds..."

"Today's issuance, we don't have a whole lot of wind going on, but the fuels are really dry," said Jimmy Taeger of the National Weather Service in Raleigh. "We haven't gotten a whole lot of rain over the past couple of months. So with the dryer air mass that moved in behind that backdoor cold front last night, relative humidity is really low out there today."

Taeger says the elevated fire risk seems to be because we haven't had much rain recently, as there haven't been recent tropical systems moving through the area. Safety officials are urging people not to illegally burn things outdoors, like trash and yard waste--especially mounds of leaves.

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"It's such a high-risk time to where even a little pile could move to another area and get out of control. So really, you should avoid any burning today outside if you can. Luckily, relative humidity is going to be increasing throughout the week so today is our driest day out there," Taeger said.

They also say to be careful with tools that can cause sparks, as well as with cigarette butts and matches. One careless mistake could be devastating, like the fires happening in western North Carolina.

"Currently out West we have three major wildland fires that have burned several thousand acres and multiple buildings, so it's just another reason that when it's this dry and windy, and humidity is this low, not to be doing any outdoor burning," Tschida said.