Sunday will be another warm, breezy, and dry afternoon. These conditions make for a very comfortable day outside, but they also make for another day of high fire risk. A Red Flag Warning will be out again Sunday as winds could blow up to 20 mph and relative humidity could fall to 20%-30%.
The Alabama Forestry Commission took action this weekend as well, issuing a Fire Danger Warning until further notice for Northern Alabama. Many parts of Alabama have already experience wildfires catching quickly in these conditions. Just in the last week, 142 wildfires have occurred in Northern Alabama. The fires burned nearly 1,500 acres of land.
The drought has raised concern for the fall fire season ahead too, not just this weekend. As of October 9th Huntsville and Muscle Shoals were both just over 8 inches behind on yearly rainfall totals. Plants normally start to dry out during fall as they prepare to shut down for winter. This year the drought has stressed most plants to frailty already, so they’re even more susceptible to burning. Dry soil also contributes to dry air, because normally moisture would be evaporated into the air as it warms up. Instead though, we have cracking grounds and dust being kicked up by the wind.
Winds will finally start to die down Sunday night into Monday, which should relax the fire risk some this coming week. Of course, the best approach is to postpone any burning until we see appreciable rainfall. It doesn’t look like rain chances will amp up anytime soon though.