The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement in coordination with the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
The weather service warns low humidity will be above normal temperatures and dry fuels will combine with gusty winds to create a heightened danger of wildfire ignition. They say this has the potential to spread through the evening.
Spring fire burning laws are not yet in effect, but with several brush fires reported, the public is cautioned against open burning of any type at this time. It is also advised that people exercise caution with heat and sparks while operating any equipment or smoking in wildland areas.
The Special Weather Statement is in effect until 7 p.m. EST with the following counties included:
Wayne, Cabell, Mason, Jackson, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Lincoln, Putnam, Kanawha, Roane, Calhoun, Ritchie, Doddridge, Mingo, Logan, Boone, McDowell, Wyoming, Upshur, Barbour, Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas and Randolph counties.
The National Weather Service indicates high winds throughout the day and into the evening.
“We have strong gusty winds that have developed across the area,” said Simone Lewis, meteorologist with the Charleston branch of the National Weather Service. “In addition to the fact there’s a very dry air mass in place, there’s a lot of dry, dead vegetation left over from the winter, that, along with the wind, has led to really dry conditions and an increased fire threat.”