Increased Fire Danger This Week

March has been another dry one in North Central Wisconsin.  With the snow on the ground disappearing in short order and most of the rain falling from March 9th-12th, that .63" of rain has quickly evaporated.  We just completed a 2 week stretch of bone dry conditions in the region and it appears the next best chance of measurable rainfall will hold off until late this week.  So while we have been hard pressed for wet weather, the opposite has been the case in the Mid-Atlantic states.  For example, my hometown of Philadelphia has had it's third rainfall this month of 1"+ in a 24 hour period and if you break it down by storms, the heaviest amount of 3.64" fell from March 12-14th. The storm system impacting them early this week dumped another 1.84".  Atlantic City, NJ set a record for rainfall on Monday, picking up 2.40", and yes that also pales in comparison to the nearly 4" of rain that fell back in mid-March.  In other words, too much or too little of a good thing during the spring months.

That leads back to the fact that our fire danger, which has been high as of late, is going to remain that way for the next several days.  Temperatures have been a little cooler during the past weekend, but high pressure is poised to pump warmer air in our direction from Tuesday through Friday.  Along with that, the winds will be brisk which only makes the risk of a spark or other fire inducing element all that much easier to spread rapidly across the dry grass and other vegetation currently found outside.  This seems to be a recurring theme just about every spring in our area when the temperatures warm, but the rain hasn't been around much to green things up.  And until we do get a good soaking rain, you'll probably hear about Red Flag Warnings in much of North Central Wisconsin.  These warnings are typically issued when gusty winds in combination with low relative humidities and warm conditions produce the ideal set up for wild fires to form and spread quickly.  With this in mind, the days ahead are not the time to be doing any burning, working with an open flame near dry brush, or (and honestly this should never be done because it is littering and dangerous) tossing cigarette butts out onto the ground or grass.  Too often during this time of the year, we have stories about grass medians being set ablaze from such incidents or in other cases the backfiring of cars on area roadways.

So we are hoping that late week cold front will not only usher in somewhat cooler weather, but also enough rain that the fire danger can be alleviated.  Until then, enjoy our first string of 70 degree weather and now that the ground has thawed out, maybe begin to get cracking on preparing the spring garden.

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