Critical fire conditions today from the St. John Valley to Presque Isle

CARIBOU, Maine — The National Weather Service Office in Caribou issued a critical fire warning for northern Aroostook County Friday until 7 p.m.

High-risk areas with the lowest relative humidity include the Allagash and St. John Valley to Presque Isle, according to meteorologist Priscilla Buster at the NWS in Caribou. The warning comes after an extended period of dry conditions and steadily increasing temperatures.

No outdoor burning is allowed in the affected areas. 

These critical conditions mean fires can start easily and have potential for rapid spread. Early Friday afternoon winds were west-southwest at 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts up to 20 miles per hour. Minimum daytime humidity was as low as 18 percent, Buster said.

“On average we get critical fire weather conditions like this about once per year,” Caribou National Weather Service Science and Operations officer Todd Foisy said. “Some years we don’t get conditions like this, while other years we may get a few days in a row like this. May 21 and 22 of 2020 was the last time we had critical fire weather conditions like we are seeing now.” 

The National Weather Service cautions against the use of open flames or heat sources and asks that smokers properly dispose of cigarettes until the warning is no longer in effect. 

The days of dry heat may not last long as showers can be expected starting Saturday night into the first half of the upcoming week.

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