Forecasters issue fire watch for high winds coming Sunday

HARLINGEN — The National Weather Service in Brownsville has issued a fire weather watch for Sunday based on anticipated high winds and very low humidity.

The watch is in effect for Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Brooks, Kenedy and Starr counties.

The combination of wind and dry conditions will create a scenario favorable for “erratic to extreme wildfire growth and spread,” the weather service said.

A cold front forecast to sweep through the Valley from the north will bring winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 on Sunday.

Weather forecasters say relative humidity will range from below 25 percent in Zapata County to below 45 percent along the Gulf Coast.

Thunderstorms are not expected to occur with the arrival of the front, so lightning strikes should not be a fire factor.

Officials warn residents of the watch area that any outdoor fires will likely spread rapidly and that outdoor burning is not recommended.

Burn bans already are in place in Zapata, Starr, Jim Hogg and Kleberg counties.

The alert says recent cold weather in the region has dried out combustible material which will readily burn and contribute to the wildfire danger.

The highest risk period will be early afternoon on Sunday.