For the second day in a row, the National Weather Service has warned that weather conditions in New Jersey could increase the chance of fires.
Yesterday, the agency issued a red flag warning as brush fires ignited around the state. The largest in North Jersey was a 10-acre fire in Wantage Township, the Star-Ledger reported. Other fires were reported in Oxford, Kingwood Township, and Elsinboro Township in Salem County, where a farmer started a controlled burn that got out of hand, turning into a 15-acre blaze.
While it did not issue another red flag warning today, the NWS said on its website that wildfires were a “heightened concern” today:
“For the second day in a row, the airmass over our area will be extremely dry. Relative humidities this afternoon will be in the teens to low 20s. The lack of precipitation has allowed fuel moisture to drop to dangerously low levels.
“Fortunately, wind speeds will be lower today than they were yesterday. For this reason, we will not be issuing a red flag warning today. However, there will still be a heightened concern for wildfires. Northerly winds will average 10 to 15 mph this morning and there could be a few gusts to near 20 mpg. Wind speeds this afternoon will average around 10 mph. Moisture levels will begin to increase on Wednesday as winds become onshore. We could see some light rain as early as late Wednesday night or Thursday. A more widespread heavier rain is possible late Thursday and Thursday night. And yet another round of rain may affect our area late Saturday into Sunday.”
The state Forest Fire Service reportedly has burned 20,000 acres in advance, aiming to destroy excess vegetation that could fuel a blaze.
Wildfire season is at its height from now through the middle of May.