Conditions Worsen for Spread of Fires in North Florida

Conditions are favorable for the rapid spread of wildfires across North Florida this weekend. 

On Saturday, a Red Flag Warning was issued for multiple counties on Saturday. Locations under the warning include Suwannee, Columbia, Baker, Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Gilchrist, Putnam, and Marion counties.

 

 

Strong winds and low humidity were observed in these areas, which prompted the National Weather Service to issue warning. Relative humidity values were at less than 30 percent, and when combined with wind speeds of 15-20 mph and gusts of up to 25, this makes any potential fires likely to grow rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended, and even banned in Alachua,  Levy, Putnam, Marion, Bradford, and Union counties. Smoke from wildfires may reduce visibility in nearby areas, especially during the late evening and early morning hours.

 

Large smoke plume seen in Jacksonville from nearby West Mims wildfire in the Okeevenokee National Forest. Courtesy of Randy Hall (Facebook).

Large smoke plume seen in Jacksonville from nearby West Mims wildfire in the Okeevenokee National Forest (Facebook/Randy Hall).

A drought impacting most of the region isn’t helping. According to the United States Drought Monitor report from May 4, most of North Florida was experiencing abnormally dry conditions and a moderate drought.

The current dry pattern will remain in place through Friday, as high pressure will dominate the local weather pattern. High temperatures will likely warm to the 90s by Wednesday, which will also aid in the growth of fires. A weak front is expected to pass through Friday, which is the next opportunity for any rain across the state.