Windy, dry conditions turned a small conflagration in a shed off Old Quaker Road in Newberry Township Monday into a blaze that consumed 6 acres of forest and threatened a nearby home, said Newberry Township Fire Chief Gary Hatterer Jr.
High wind just pushed that fire up through the woods, Hat´ terer said. Firefighters called in 12 companies, and the flames singed some siding on the residence near the shed where it started.
Hatterer called the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal, who will help determine what caused the fire. It does not appear to be suspicious, he said. The shed was consumed, he said.
The blaze is one of a spate of brush and woods fires that have been occurring since late last week.
A brush fire on Whispering Pines Drive in Chanceford Township Sunday burned 4 to 6 acres. Another in Windsor Township on Friday consumed about 2 acres of brush.
Another brush fire broke out Monday evening in Peach Bottom Township. Firefighters worked to knock down the blaze in a remote area off Bryansville Road, Delta/Cardiff Fire Chief Bill Buecker said. The fire consumed about an acre of trees and brush and singed a shed.
The National Weather Service said dry, windy conditions have allowed wild fires to spread easily. On Monday, the humidity was less than 30 percent, and Harrisburg recorded wind gusts of more than 45 miles per hour, the weather service reported.
The weather service has been issuing red-flag warnings, which say that the weather is perfect for "explosive fire growth potential," the weather service says in its alert bulletins.
Greg DeVoir, a meteorologist with the service, said red-flag warnings were created to help firefighters maintain safety.
"There's not necessarily anything for the public to do," he said, other than to avoid doing things like throwing lit cigarette butts from car windows.
On Wednesday night, DeVoir expected temperatures to drop through the 50s into the 40s and for humidity to rise. He expected humidity to rise up to 60 to 70 percent over night, which should eliminate the threat, he said.
At its lowest, humidity would drop to just above 30 percent Tuesday, he said. Danger for fires can exist when levels drop below 30 percent, he said.
Lower Windsor Township imposes burn ban
Lower Windsor Township Monday imposed a burn ban because of the extended dry conditions, high winds, and accompanying risk of fire.
The burn ban will remain in place until conditions improve. During the ban, residents are prohibited from any type of open burning. Residents can use cooking grills.