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Fire threat mounts as dry conditions continue

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-21 18:35:28-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We’ve now gone 18 straight days with no measurable precipitation in Grand Rapids and most of the West Michigan area. Despite the snowmelt, the ground is very dry and conditions are increasing for a fire threat. In fact, we’ve had at least nine confirmed brush fires Saturday across the area. The photo attached to this story is courtesy of Todd Drenth (off Twitter) who captured the image as firefighters from Lowell and Ada battled this particular brush fire.

According to the National Weather Service, this is the longest stretch of dry weather we’ve experienced since 2002. Our last measureable precipitation was back on March 3 when Grand Rapids tallied .43 inches of liquid precipitation, which equaled 2.9 inches of snow.

The confirmed brush fires were reported in Lowell, Sparta, Grand Rapids, Greenville, two in Cedar Springs, and three in Rockford. Keep in mind we also had breezy conditions, which further helped to dry out the vegetation. Relative humidities were somewhat low, which means there wasn’t much moisture in the air itself to help mitigate an increased fire risk. This trend will continue on Sunday and in fact, the next best chance of widespread precipitation doesn’t arrive until Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Click here for the National Weather Service local fire forecast.

All of us should exercise extra caution when burning, lighting campfires, or barbequing. Make sure you pay close attention to the wind forecast as well. Winds overnight will be from the north/northeast at about 5 to 10 mph, and from the northeast/north on Sunday at around 6 to 12 mph. You can get the complete West Michigan forecast by heading to www.fox17online.com/weather.