The forecast shift in weather was expected to cut an “enhanced risk for the spread of wildfires.”
A wildfire Thursday spread from a wooded area in Slatington onto two properties, damaging two homes, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry.
It was reported about noon along the 200 block of Diamond Street in the Lehigh County borough.
“Luckily it was close to a road and no houses burned down,” Assistant District Forester Rick Deppen said from the scene. “If this would have been in the middle of nowhere, this would have really taken off, but it was easy access for the firefighters.”
No one was reported injured, and the fire was out as of mid-afternoon, Deppen said.
The fire affected only 0.38 of an acre as a westerly wind fanned it onto the residential properties.
In addition to the two homes, a shed, pool, outdoor toys and pickup truck cap were damaged, he said.
“There was quite a bit of damage,” Deppen said. “Those houses back up to a wooded hillside. It’s not more than, probably less than, 80 feet and you’re in a wooded area.”
Deppen responded to investigate the fire and said he had an idea of the cause but wasn’t ready to release it as the probe continued.
Firefighters also dealt Thursday with brush fires reported in Bushkill, Oxford and Mansfield townships.
The National Weather Service said the region was facing “an enhanced risk for the spread of wildfires for the rest of the afternoon. Relative humidity values are in the teens and lower 20s with west winds 15 to 25 mph with 30 to 35 mph gusts.”
Conditions were expected to improve after sunset, with rising relative humidity and diminishing winds ahead of rain forecast to change over to snow for the Friday morning commute.
Quick moving storm will produce a swath of snowfall tonight-Friday across eastern OH, much of PA, the NYC metro area & southern New England pic.twitter.com/hcFvzVuMHP
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) March 9, 2017
Weather service forecasters were predicting 3 inches of snow for the Lehigh Valley and slightly higher amounts to the north and west.
— EPAWA Weather [?] (@epawawx) March 9, 2017
“The snow will become moderate to heavy at times late tonight and early Friday morning before tapering off late in the morning.” the weather service said in a forecast update. “Lingering snow showers may occur Friday afternoon and evening. …
“Roads will become snow-covered and slippery. Poor visibility in heavier snow will create hazardous traveling conditions. The Friday morning commute will likely be affected.”