Beware of the INCREASING Wildfire Danger

The sun is up and is going to work already, warming us toward new record highs this afternoon.  It’s also working to further dry out the ground, leaves, and grass, adding to our wildfire danger!

The risk for wildfires is an increasing threat across Middle Tennessee.  Take a look at this photo snapped by Channel 4’s Alan Frio yesterday, while driving through Lebanon on Interstate 40.  What’s especially frightening is that Alan was a good distance from the fire initially.  However, by the time he pulled over, took the picture, got back in his car, and started to drive away he noticed the fire had crept to within 20 feet of his vehicle!  Obviously, fire can travel very quickly.

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In addition to the fire and smoke, the especially dry grass is attention-grabbing.  Look in the upper right-hand side of the photo, as well.  It’s just as dry on the other side of I-40.  This is representative of conditions across most of our area.

The grass and dead leaves on the ground serve as potential fuel to get fires going and help sustain them.  Because these objects have such a large surface area, they dry out more readily and can be ignited under lower temperatures.

The fact that we’re anticipating high temperatures at or above record levels over the next several days will further contribute to the fire danger.  All other things being equal, the higher the air temperature, the lower the relative humidity and the drier the grass and leaves (fuel source).  Here’s a look at highs this afternoon…

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With no significant cooldown coming anytime soon and no rain to speak of, we all most do our part in helping to minimize unintentional fires.

SO….some obvious things to keep in mind are:

  1. Throwing burning cigarette butts out the the window is a bad idea.
  2. Be especially careful when doing outdoor burning.  Ensure it’s legal in your area, first.  Be sure to also get the proper permission/permits.

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Something you might not consider is the threat posed by outdoor fire pits.  Smores are SO good…but in these conditions, you have to be careful with your fire while you’re using it and afterwards.  Make sure it’s extinguished before walking away.

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On a different note, all the sunshine we expect today will make for great weather outdoors to get some things done in the yard or have some fun.  Franklin’s Pumpkinfest is a great option!  There will be dozens of arts and crafts booths, live music, a kids zone, a costume contest, plenty to eat, etc…

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ALSO…Tennessee State University is playing Murray State at 3pm this afternoon.  The forecast for that also looks excellent.

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Coming up this evening on Channel 4 News at 5pm, Daphne DeLoren will update you on when rain is likely again in Middle Tennessee.

DT

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