The combination of low humidity, gusty winds and dry vegetation has millions of Americans facing an increased risk of fires from the Gulf Coast through the Plains into the weekend.
Elevated fire risks are expected to exist Friday from South Dakota to Louisiana, with several areas that could reach critical values.
Northwesterly winds sustained at more than 20 mph and humidity levels below 30 percent are some of the main culprits behind what could be an active day for firefighters.
The Texas A&M Forest Service responded to numerous fires across the Lone Star State on Thursday and warned that the threat will remain high until significant drought relief moves through the state.
Update: the #BrittFire in Wheeler County is an estimated 8,152 acres and 0% contained. Aviation resources made several drops of water/retardant this evening to assist ground crews with suppression efforts. Crews will construct containment line using heavy equipment. #txfire pic.twitter.com/paGXqoxT6Y— Incident Information - Texas A&M Forest Service (@AllHazardsTFS) April 8, 2022
The lack of snowfall during the winter and reduced rain during the spring has much of the region dealing with dry vegetation and unseasonably high fire danger levels.
The stretches of dry weather have kept firefighters busy, with more than a dozen large blazes actively being fought across the nation.
The National Interagency Fire Center reports that year-to-date, the U.S. has already seen around 20% more acres burned than during the 10-year average.
Climate outlooks indicate the dry weather will continue through April and could last into the summer because of La Niña.
The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook shows areas under the threat of significant wildfires expanding in coverage through the summer.