03/14/06 — Windy weather will increase local fire risk

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Windy weather will increase local fire risk

By Other
Published in News on March 14, 2006 1:49 PM

From staff and wire reports

It might have been 80 degrees Monday, but the rest of the week will bring increasingly cooler temperatures -- and high fire risk, officials say.

Rain that was expected last night and early today will not be enough to diminish the growing threat of grass fires around central portions of the state, including Wayne County, forecasters said today.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh said low humidity and dry vegetation and surface soils triggered the warning against outdoor burning today and likely through Wednesday.

"The top three inches of the ground are just really dry," said Chad Brandon of the state Forest Service office in Rocky Mount. "If people are going to burn, they need to be really careful and stay with it until it's cold enough to touch."

Dry weather is forecast to continue through the weekend.

Winds are expected to be around 15 to 25 mph this afternoon with gusts to 35 mph while the humidity is expected to drop to 25 to 30 percent over the Coastal Plains. Wind gusts of up to 30 mph are expected Wednesday while more dry air filters in.