Fire Danger Continues; Rare “Critical” Conditions in Forecast

"Fire danger" classification hinges upon available fuel for fire growth


A day after multiple brush fires were reported across New England, including a few larger blazes in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, "fire danger" continues to run high to very high. The "fire danger" classification hinges upon available fuel for fire growth - dry leaves and dead vegetation from last year - and ground moisture, which often runs quite low this time of the year before leaves fill-out on the region's trees to shade the ground from the effects of a strengthening sun angle.

Fire weather conditions are a bit different from fire danger - that is, when it comes to weather, the key is forecasting when conditions favor rapid fire growth and spread.  The key combination to this is dry air, deep "mixing" of air through the lower several thousand feet of the atmosphere, and an active wind.  These three parameters allow for excellent ventilation of a fire, and the ability for the fire to increase explosively in areal coverage.

Though fire weather conditions represent an "elevated" risk of fire spread in NH and Maine Tuesday, Wednesday steps up to critical, and that's a BIG deal - it's pretty rare that anywhere in New England sees the "critical" fire weather classification typically reserved for other tinderbox parts of the nation. We can all help our firefighters (and neighbors!) stay safe by curtailing outdoor burning and being mindful of cigarette disposal...believe it or not, cigarettes thrown out the car window or into the grass are the leading cause for brush fires in some of New England.

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