Wildfires continue to burn across the Southeastern United States (Credit: National Interagency Fire Center, US Fish & Wildlife Service Southeast Fire)
Discussion: It has been a warm and dry start to the spring season in the Southeastern US. The above average temperatures have it feeling more like summer than spring. Along with those abnormal temperatures is the lack of any moisture in the region. Currently, the largest fire burning in the United States is the West Mims fire in Georgia. This fire is currently 18% contained was caused by a lightning strike and has burned 152,147 acres. With temperatures expected to rise into the 90s and relative humidity being in the low 20s, the risk for new fire starts is increased. In the state of Florida, seven different fires continue to burn. The largest of those seven is the Cowbell fire located in the Big Cypress National Preserve. It has burned 21,866 acres and is currently 75% contained. The majority of the other six Florida fires are between 70-90% contained.
High pressure is expected to build over the Southeast this week, which won't provide much help for containing these fires. This hot, dry weather combined with the drought in the area that has persisted over the southeast has not helped lower the risk for wildfires. To learn more about fire weather and fire weather education, be sure to click here!
~Meteorologist Shannon Scully