How our warm, dry weather conditions increase threat of local brushfires

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023
How our weather conditions increase threat of brushfires
"Dry air, a little bit of a gusty wind, these are all criteria the Weather Service has for us to get into a fire watch or fire warning," Meteorologist Sam Champion said.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- As temperatures begin to rise and wind gusts pick up, the threat of brushfires in our area increases.

Meteorologist Sam Champion partly attributes our risk for brushfires with the lack of grass and brush. Dry conditions and the lack of blooming nature are the perfect storm when it comes to sparking a brushfire.

"Dry air, a little bit of a gusty wind, these are all criteria the Weather Service has for us to get into a fire watch or fire warning," Sam said.

"Winds at or gusting above 25 miles per hour...relative humidity less than 30%...less than one fourth inch of rain in three or more days," he added.

A fire weather watch is in place and stretches all throughout Pennsylvania. A red flag warning is currently in place for Connecticut.

Though New York and New Jersey were not issued those warnings, Sam says the threat to this area is still very real.

"We're all in the same boat. We're all very dry, we got that same gusty breeze...any showers trying to make it down from our north don't make it because our air is so dry, Sam said."

Newscopter7 was over Manchester Township, New Jersey Wednesday morning as a massive wildfire spread through the area.

John Del Giorno gives us a live update on the flames burning through parts of Manchester Township.

Crews are still battling battling flames that spanned across approximately 3,800 acres. So far, about 50% of the fire is contained.

Residents who evacuated Manchester Township were able to return home Wednesday morning, but several roads remained closed.

Also in New Jersey, a fire that began at a recycling plant on Tuesday afternoon quickly spread and ignited several brush fires that burned near train tracks in Jersey City.

"This location, that's what they deal in, it's all recyclable paper, and when the fire department arrived everything was put in bundles and all piled on top, probably 10 or 12 feet high, and no matter how much water you dump in there, you have to get inside and break it up and that's what they're doing now," Jersey City Office of Emergency Management Director Greg Kierce said.

The fire shut down Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service directions between Liberty State Park and Danforth Station during the evening rush hour.

Winds appeared help in spreading the flames to surrounding dry areas where they re-sparked.

Just hours later, firefighters worked to put out a brush fire burning along the Teaneck Creek Conservancy in Teaneck. The area between Teaneck Road and Frank W. Burr Blvd was closed, according to police.

Officials remind civilians that the combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels will create a significantly elevated fire growth potential.

MORE: NWS Advisories, Watches and Warnings


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