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    Eastern Heat Blast to Push Fire Danger Higher

    By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist
    April 14, 2012, 9:16:19 AM EDT

    A surge of warmth with wind will elevate the fire danger in portions of the East later this weekend into the first part of next week.

    A storm aiming to produce severe weather over the Central states will produce a wedge of very warm air over much of the East Sunday into Tuesday.

    The existing dry brush combined with a lack of drenching rainfall in recent weeks and expected higher temperatures and stiff southwesterly breezes will create ideal conditions for rapid spread of wildfires.

    As daytime temperatures are projected by AccuWeather.com to shoot well into the 70s and 80s, the relative humidity will plunge during the midday and afternoon. This is also the time when winds will be the strongest.

    The days likely to bring the most wind will be Sunday as the warmth is moving in and Tuesday, ahead of an approaching front from the west.


    A few places could touch 90 degrees Sunday and Monday.

    The area from southern New England and New York state to Virginia and North Carolina seem to be at greatest risk for the wildfire weather.


    While showers and thunderstorms will march into the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and New England this weekend, the earliest drenching rain may reach areas from the south coast of New England to the Carolinas is not until the middle of next week. Even then, the rainfall may be spotty.

    A general multiple-day rainstorm is needed to alleviate the dry conditions and that in not in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

    Despite cooler weather with rain and snow showers the past couple of days, wildfires continued to be a problem in portions of the East.

    During Wednesday afternoon, a brush fire raged for several hours in the New Jersey Meadowlands, just across the Hudson River from New York City along the New Jersey Turnpike.

    According to the Star Ledger, the western spur of the Turnpike was closed for 45 minutes because of the proximity of the flames, which consumed nearly 100 acres of grassland.

    Multiple fires in Virginia scorched 14,000 acres in recent days as of Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

    As of the morning hours today, a fire continued to burn near the French Creek State Park of Pennsylvania, according to The Mercury. Despite a flare-up overnight, crews continued to keep the fire under containment.

    Wildfires this week have also caused problems on Long Island, Connecticut, Florida and other areas of the East.

    It is not only the danger from the flames reaching neighborhoods and destroying property. Smoke carried downwind from the blazes can create sudden, dangerous low visibility along highways.

    Fire Weather Safety Tips

    Be careful when using outdoor power equipment and parking vehicles on dry brush. Fully extinguish campfires and heed burning bands where implemented.

    Let charcoal cool completely after use before disposing. Some charcoal embers can burn for several days under the right conditions. Gusty winds can knock over portable grills.

    Have ample water on hand in case of an emergency.

    Avoid tossing burning cigarette butts on the ground. Wind with and without passing vehicles can carry the cigarette into dry brush.

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