National Weather Service warns of increased fire risk from dry, breezy conditions

‘Just being really, really, really careful,’ National Weather Service meteorologist advises

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 70s this weekend, but residents in McHenry County and the surrounding area should be cautious of dry, breezy conditions that will create an elevated fire risk.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Friday morning for areas including McHenry, Lake, Boone, DuPage, DeKalb and Winnebago counties.

Low humidity combined with gradually increasing winds will create an increased risk for fire danger Friday afternoon and night, mainly along and west of Interstate 55, according to the National Weather Service.

“March had about half of its normal precipitation, so ground conditions have dried out,” meteorologist Matt Friedlein said. “We’re before the time of the year where things really green up so the vegetation has dried progressively out as well.”

Wind is expected to pick up Saturday with gusts reaching as much as 30 mph, although conditions are likely to be less dry, Friedlein said.

“They may not overlap purposely for what we consider dangerous fire conditions,” Friedlein said.

Still, residents should be careful around bonfires or when conducting controlled burns throughout the weekend, he said.

“You want to be just extra careful with things like that, especially disposing of cigarettes,” Friedlein said. “If you’re outside camping, just being really, really, really careful.”

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.