Pennsylvania and New Jersey are under fire risk warning Tuesday

Be careful when discarding cigarette butts, keep vehicles off of dry grass, and consider skipping the campfire.

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A cyclist rides in the day’s diminishing light

A cyclist rides in the day’s diminishing light, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey should be careful Tuesday with anything that could start a fire.

Central and eastern Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey are under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., meaning fires can easily get out of control.

“Anything that sparks can certainly pick up very quickly and spread,” said Michael Lee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

The warning covers dozens of municipalities and counties, including Philadelphia, State College, Camden, and Cape May. It’s the second Red Flag warning covering Philadelphia this year and the 8th since 2018, according to the National Weather Service.

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Tuesday’s warning is a result of low humidity, strong winds with gusts of up to 25 miles per hour, and dry grass and other “fuel.”

Several cities in the Philly metro area saw their driest May on record last month. 

“We have not gotten a lot of rainfall in the last couple of weeks, and so therefore … the forest floor is very, very dry,” Lee said. “So any fires that may develop, the relative humidity, the dry air is going to allow them to build, and the winds are going to allow them to spread.”

Lee said people should take extra care when discarding cigarette butts, should keep vehicles off of dry grass, should consider avoiding lighting campfires, and should obey any burn bans.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s urban, rural, or suburban — any type of dry grass or anything like that certainly provides fuel to a fire,” Lee said.

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