TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — The National Weather Service in Binghamton has included Tompkins County in a “red flag area” due to having several weather conditions that could cause rapid fire spread.

The warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday for parts of the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and Northeast Pennsylvania.

The low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures add up to conditions that can cause rapid fire spread.

The Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response is reminding residents that an outside burn ban is in effect through May 15.  A response to an outdoor fire during the burn ban period would likely include the local fire department and law enforcement, according to Lee Shurtleff, director of emergency response.

“Grass and brush fires can occur and spread rapidly, creating threats to people, wildlife, buildings, vehicles, or other property,” Shurtleff said in a news release.  “Preventing such fires is critical, especially during posted red flag warnings.”

According to the National Weather Service, a red flag warning means “critical fire weather conditions.” A combination of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to “extreme fire behavior.”

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.