Drought Conditions Increase Wildfire Danger
ANNAPOLIS (September 8, 2010) The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Queen Anne, and Washington counties. A Red Flag warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will occur shortly with a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures that will create the potential for explosive fire growth. Fire weather conditions in the rest of Maryland fall just below the red flag criteria, but still have the potential for large fire growth. The Red Flag Warning is in effect today until 7 p.m.
Drought conditions across the state have lead to an increase in wildfire potential. While open-air burning is legal in parts of Maryland, The DNR Forest Service strongly encourages homeowners not to do any outdoor burning until the state receives significant steady rainfall of 1 inch or more.
Open-air burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Maryland. During dry conditions, embers can easily ignite dry leaves or other forest fuels and start a wildfire. Caution is also urged with all other outdoor activities that may spark a wildfire such as campfires and smoking. Further restrictions may need to be put in place if the dry weather pattern continues.
Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources