ELMIRA, N.Y (WETM)- Today, April 15th, there is an elevated risk of wildfires for counties within the Northern and Southern Tier.

There are strong sustained winds of 15-25 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour, and relative humidity values around 20-30%. All add up to give an increased risk of wildfires. A special weather statement has been issued from the National Weather Service Binghamton because of it.

Special Weather Statement for Elevated Risk of Wildfire Spread

Relative humidity will drop as low as 20 to 30 percent this afternoon. Southwest winds will increase to 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. The highest winds will be in the Finger Lakes. These dry and breezy conditions will pose an elevated risk for wildfire spread this afternoon. Be sure to heed the New York
State Burn Ban which remains in effect until May 14."
-NWS Binghamton

According to the New York State Department of Conservation, open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in New York States. The Spring Burn Ban was implemented back in 2009, and is in place from March 16th through May 14th annually. The burn ban has decreased the number of wildfires by more than 40%.

Tim Marshall , The Director of Public Safety for Steuben County said, “If there’s a wildfire today, the opportunity for that wildfire to spread rapidly is greater with those winds. So it’s very important to not burn on windy days. You don’t want to burn during the burn band period anyways, but on these windy days you really really want to be cautious.”