A combination of strong winds, very low humidity and relatively warm temperatures are producing an elevated risk for brush fires this afternoon across southern New England. All of Massachusetts, with the exception of Cape Cod & the Islands, are under a Red Flag Warning that expires at 8 p.m.
While we’ve had dry days in southern New England, the wind wasn’t as strong as it has been this afternoon. It takes sustained or frequent wind gusts at or over 25 mph for the National Weather Service to hoist a Red Flag Warning.
Once the wind meets these criteria, along with low humidity, the chance for rapid fire spread increases. Any spark could rapidly ignite a brush that may spread into acres of land when the wind plays a role. The stronger the wind, the faster and broader will the fire will expand.
In days like these, it’s recommended not to smoke in or near the woods, refrain from starting any fires, and be extra cautious with cigarette buds or grill sparks. These are all the kinds of things that may rapidly get out of hand and become an uncontrollable fire risking property and life.
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Tips to reduce the risk of a fire
- Always follow instructions provided by the local fire department/town.
- Do not throw cigarettes out of a vehicle while driving. These buds may rapidly ignite the dry grass on the side of the road and stretch further into the woods.
- Pay attention to city restrictions - it’s highly likely that the town will restrict “controlled fires” during these times.
- If camping, no campfires are allowed.
- Avoid using lawnmowers over dry vegetation.
- Call the local fire department if you see any fire.
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