There is an increased fire danger across the region today. A dry cold front passed through the region Sunday night. Rainfall totals are more than 2″ below average this month and more than 5″ below average since the start of September. More than 80% of North Carolina and nearly 75% of South Carolina are currently experiencing some form of drought. This has left vegetation moisture deprived and the dry brush lends itself as fuel for any fires that get out of control.
Relative humidity, or the amount of water vapor in the air, impacts how easily and quickly a fire will burn. When relative humidity falls below 30% burning becomes dangerous and can be much harder to contain. Relative humidity levels will fall to 20-25% this afternoon.
The wind is another component in the increased fire risk. A strong wind could carry embers from a contained fire and cause a wildfire. It could also cause wildfires to spread quickly. Today will be breezy with wind out of the northwest 5-10 mph and gusts up to 30 mph through the first half of the day. As relative humidity levels fall this afternoon, winds will calm, but low moisture fuel could still lead to fires getting out of control quickly. Burning is highly advised against.
This forecast also makes things more complicated for firefighters battling the Pilot Moutain State Park fire in Surry County where more than 200 acres have burned as of Sunday evening.