CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Low humidity, strong winds and unseasonably warm temperatures have officials concerned about increased fire danger in West Virginia on Wednesday (February 15). The West Virginia Division of Forestry has asked people to be extremely cautious Wednesday to avoid starting brush fires like the one pictured below.

File photo of large brush fire in Walton, WV in Roane County 2022. (Photo Courtesy: Newton Volunteer Fire Department) – Officials want to avoid scenes like these on Wed Feb 15, 2023

The West Virginia Division of Forestry and the National Weather Service forecast office in Charleston even issued a special statement asking for help from the public:

“Low humidity and dry fuels will combine with increasing winds later this afternoon (Feb. 14) into this evening, to create an enhanced wildfire ignition and spread potential. Even with light winds, a few brush fires were already noted this afternoon. Winds are expected to be strong and temperatures higher Wednesday afternoon so, even with slightly higher humidity, an elevated fire danger is again expected. While spring fire burning laws are not yet in effect, open burning of any type is considered dangerous at this time. Be very careful of heat and sparks while operating any equipment or smoking in wildland areas.”

NWS Charleston and WV Division of Forestry

Wind gusts will likely be in the 20 to 30 mph range on the day Wednesday.

Predictor model output of wind gusts in mph on Wednesday

Future dewpoints on Wednesday will run some 35 degrees lower than the actual air temperature which means the air is going to be very dry.

Predictor model output for dewpoint Wednesday

Temperatures will run very high for February. The highs are anticipated to be near record highs.

Predictor model output of afternoon temperatures for Wednesday afternoon

All of these factors will combine to raise the danger of brushfires significantly on Wednesday.

“We ask that the public continue to exercise caution and refrain from burning under these conditions,” said Assistant State Forester-Fire Jeremy Jones in a written release on Tuesday.

Similar weather conditions will be present in Kentucky and Ohio on Wednesday as well. There have been recent fires in the region in the last week due to previous hot and warm days. Caution is urged all across the 13 News area until some soaking rain can move into the area. More heavy rain is expected on Thursday.