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Weather Talk: April, early May is brush fire season

Spring is brush fire season across our region. Dry weather is often blamed for this, but the problem is that winter has left us with so much kindling.

Grass and brush are dead or still dormant, and burn easily. Weather can certainly play a role. April and early May is the windiest time of the year, and many of the warmest days in spring are often accompanied by very low humidity. The combination of a warm, dry, windy day with so much tinder lying around makes our region extremely vulnerable to fires.

As the spring progresses, all that grass and brush turn green, removing the tinder, and making brush fires less of a risk in summer than in spring.

In past times, when fire trucks were pulled by horses and carried less water, brush fires posed a common danger to settlers. Even today, any brush fire should be reported immediately because they can grow extremely quickly. Also, be aware of any burning restrictions or Red Flag Warnings that restrict fires during dangerous conditions.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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