Ocean County was under a rare “red flag” warning Thursday and a fire watch has already been issued for Friday by the National Weather Service, the agency announced. (The video above, embedded in this story, shows clouds and wind moving in during a stunning sunset on the bay Wednesday night.)
The red flag warning went into effect at 11 a.m. Thursday and will remain until 10 p.m. A red flag warning means that “critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly due to a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels. Any fires that develop may quickly get out of control and become difficult to contain,” according to the NWS.
The fire watch is in effect from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. A fire weather watch means that “critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur due to a combination of strong winds, low relative humidities, and dry fuels.”
The NWS called for northwest 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 m.p.h. Thursday and Friday, with humidity at a critically-low 17 percent. There is an increased risk for rapid wildfire growth and spread. Prescribed burns may get out of control, the NWS said.
For Friday, the fire watch could turn into a red flag warning.
Winds will subside Saturday, under sunny skies and a high of 57 degrees, the NWS said. Winds will move about 10 m.p.h. to begin the weekend.