I knew that the New Jersey Forest Fire Service conducted more prescribed burns on February 22nd in Ocean, Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. I checked the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s Facebook page yesterday and earlier this morning, wondering if there were more prescribed burns scheduled. I saw that none were scheduled.
When I came upon this February 20th video report from NBC10 in Philadelphia, I got my answer to why there were no prescribed burns scheduled for the 23rd and 24th. If you could hold off on viewing the NBC10 report for a moment, allowing me to digress. I did know that both yesterday and today we have a shot of warmer then normal temperatures. Temperatures yesterday were in the upper 60s and low 70s, and temperatures today will be about the same. See for example these observations for New Jersey and adjoining areas of Delaware and Pennsylvania reported by the National Weather Service at Mt. Holly NJ
ASUS41 KPHI 241511 RWRPHI REGIONAL WEATHER ROUNDUP NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ 1000 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2017 NOTE: "FAIR" INDICATES FEW OR NO CLOUDS BELOW 12,000 FEET WITH NO SIGNIFICANT WEATHER AND/OR OBSTRUCTIONS TO VISIBILITY. * = STATION DOES NOT REPORT PRECIPITATION (E.G. RAIN, SNOW, ETC.) OR FOG. NJZ015>026-241600- SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS POMONA MOSUNNY 68 53 58 S12 29.98R WILDWOOD* MOSUNNY 64 54 69 S13 29.99R MILLVILLE SUNNY 65 56 72 S8G17 29.97S WRIGHTSTOWN SUNNY 66 56 68 SW13 29.94R MOUNT HOLLY SUNNY 67 55 65 SW9 29.96R TRENTON SUNNY 65 55 70 SW10 29.95R $$ NJZ001>014-241600- NORTHERN NEW JERSEY CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS SUSSEX SUNNY 63 54 72 SW6 29.93S ANDOVER* N/A 64 52 64 SW10 29.93S MORRISTOWN MOSUNNY 64 54 68 W5 29.95S NEWARK PTSUNNY 66 55 67 SW7 29.95S TETERBORO SUNNY 65 54 67 SW12 29.94F CALDWELL MOSUNNY 63 53 70 VRB5 29.95S SOMERVILLE SUNNY 64 53 67 VRB3 29.93F ALLAIRE* SUNNY 67 55 65 S13 29.98R TOMS RIVER* SUNNY 68 55 63 SW14G20 29.98R $$ PAZ043-044-047-054-055-060>062-066>071-241600- EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS PHILADELPHIA MOSUNNY 65 54 67 SW12 29.95S NORTH PHILA SUNNY 66 56 70 SW12 29.96S BLUE BELL* SUNNY 63 54 72 S7 29.94S DOYLESTOWN SUNNY 63 55 75 VRB7 29.93F QUAKERTOWN* SUNNY 64 55 72 SW9 29.94F PERKASIE* FAIR 63 54 72 SW6 29.95S POTTSTOWN SUNNY 62 53 72 SE6 29.95S LANCASTER SUNNY 65 56 72 S7 29.92S COATESVILLE SUNNY 63 55 77 VRB6 29.95S READING SUNNY 66 55 67 SW8 29.91F ALLENTOWN SUNNY 65 53 65 VRB6 29.92F MOUNT POCONO SUNNY 60 53 77 SW7 29.92F HAZLETON PTSUNNY 63 52 67 S8 29.93S LEHIGHTON FAIR 61 50 67 CALM 29.92F WILKES BARRE PTSUNNY 63 53 70 W9 29.88F $$ DEZALL-MDZ008-012-015-019-020-241600- DELAWARE AND EASTERN MARYLAND CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS WILMINGTON SUNNY 63 54 72 SE7 29.95S DOVER SUNNY 67 65 92 S12 29.95S GEORGETOWN PTSUNNY 70 56 61 S8 29.98R EASTON SUNNY 66 55 68 S10 30.00R ABERDEEN SUNNY 64 55 72 S7 29.95S PATUXENT MOSUNNY 66 58 75 S8 29.96S OCEAN CITY SUNNY 64 57 78 SW9 29.98F WALLOPS ISLAND MOSUNNY 64 58 80 S12 29.98F CAMBRIDGE SUNNY 66 57 72 SE6 29.97S SALISBURY PTSUNNY 68 57 68 S9 29.97S $$ PAZ001-021-NYZ056-072-MDZ011-DCZ001-241600- OTHER NEARBY LOCATIONS CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS HARRISBURG MOSUNNY 63 53 70 SE8 29.89F STATE COLLEGE CLOUDY 61 52 72 CALM 29.86S WILLIAMSPORT PTSUNNY 63 52 67 E8 29.86S BINGHAMTON CLOUDY 59 52 77 S8 29.84S NEW YORK CITY SUNNY 63 53 70 VRB6 29.98R BALTIMORE MOSUNNY 68 56 65 SW5 29.92F WASHINGTON DC MOSUNNY 64 56 75 S10 29.93F $$
Ok, so the temperatures yesterday and today are more like temperatures we experience in mid-May. What do these warmer then normal temperatures mean for us in New Jersey as the normal start of the spring wildfire season is less then a month away? Back to the February 20th video from NMC10 in Philadelphia. The NBC10 reporter interviewed Shawn Judy of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Mr. Judy pointed first to warmer then normal temperatures over this past weekend which means an earlier start to the spring wildfire season. He cited the example of the 540 acre wildfire that burned in Manchester Township (Greenwood Wildlife Management Area) last Sunday (February 19th). I learned something new when Mr. Judy was discussing the importance of prescribed burns in That is, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service does not conduct prescribed burns when the temperatures are above 60F because prescribed burns are too risky at those those temperatures.
I share this February 20th video report from NBC10 in Philadelphia with you, and hope that you spend a couple of minutes to watch the video. The embed code did not work here, which may a good thing because sometimes the embed code is only good for a limited time. Knowing this, I tried to summarize the salient aspects of the report above.
These May temperatures will end over night tonight. But light rain is expected over the weekend with showers early next week, perhaps limiting prescribed burns? I'll be checking the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s Facebook page for updates about any planned prescribed burns in the coming days.