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Conditions ripe for wildfires

Roanoke-Chowan area Forest Resources officials are urging local residents to refrain from burning debris this weekend.

A mixture of gusty winds and a dry air mass will set-up a “perfect storm” scenario as the two will combine to produce conditions that are favorable for wildfires.

This has prompted a High Fire Danger Risk warning for 55 of the state’s 100 counties. That warning includes Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties.

According to NC Forest Resources spokesperson Jamie Kritzer, citizens in the affected counties are asked to avoid all outdoor burning during Easter weekend. Kritzer went a step further by suggesting not to burn any yard vegetation until the state receives several consecutive days of drenching rain.

The leading cause of wildfires is debris burning. History has shown that wildfire activity is busy during Easter weekend.

Due to below average rainfall amounts over the winter and early spring months, wildfires have been numerous throughout the state. To date, NCFR officials and firefighters have responded to 3,604 wildfires, including 699 this month.

In addition to urging the public not to burn debris, NCFR officials are asking citizens to fully extinguish cigarettes or smoldering fires and to never leave a debris fire unattended.