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Forecasters warn of an increased risk of wildfires


It’s Spring Fire Season in the Commonwealth, which means a burn ban is in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Making matters worse, officials said the area is currently experiencing excessively dry conditions.

Alex Vorst, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said at times like this people need to be especially aware of the consequences their actions may cause.

“We want to make sure that people are seriously considering this because it won’t take much of a spark, even just the discarding of a casual cigarette could have serious consequences especially with the winds that are expected,” said Vorst.

Vorst said even the smallest spark combined with windy conditions can cause wildfires to start. He added that although rain is expected early Tuesday morning, it isn’t a guaranteed fix for the widespread problems the area is currently facing, as dry conditions are expected to continue through the end of the week.

“Unfortunately, QPF, quantitative precipitation forecast, so the amount of rainfall we’re expecting, has been steadily falling in the last few days as we get closer and closer to this system. Just a lot more dry air is being brought into this system and that’s kind of really limiting the amount of rainfall we’re expecting with this cold front,” said Vorst.

Vorst said the dry air won’t stick around forever, but stresses that people need to be careful while it is in the area. Vorst added that if the area does not see rain soon then it will be a long time until the next system moves into the area, meaning the already dry conditions will only get worse.