The remains of a burned house and car on Wading...

The remains of a burned house and car on Wading River Manor Road near River Road in Manorville. (April 10, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

Windy, super-dry conditions responsible for the rapid spread of a wildfire in Suffolk County improved overnight as calm winds greeted firefighters at dawn, but forecasters warn that is expected to change.

The National Weather Service in Upton issued a "red flag" warning for outdoor fires, effective from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The previous warning had expired at 8 p.m. Monday.

The relative humidity will be as low as 25 percent and west winds blowing 10 to 17 mph with gusts up to 30 mph are predicted, with the strongest winds expected Tuesday afternoon. This means the fire risk is elevated because of dry conditions.

There is a slight chance of showers after noon, forecasters said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said firefighters were hoping to take advantage of a window of opportunity provided by diminished winds, officials said.

Officials were hopeful that the wildfire in Manorville and Ridge, which destroyed at three homes and left three firefighters injured, could be contained before the winds picked up.

Forecasters were not surprised by the fires in Suffolk and elsewhere in the metro region Monday.

"The conditions all winter long have been very dry, less than one-third of the normal rainfall this year," News 12 Long Island meteorologist Bill Korbel said Monday night, adding there had been just a half-inch of rain in the "past six weeks or so."

"That set the stage. Added to that," he said, was "very strong winds, gusting up to 40 mph. And the air is extraordinarily dry. Relative humidity was 15 percent, more like you'd find in the Southwest. It would be 40 percent here on a normal spring day," he said.

The drought allowed brush "to dry up and be more flammable. Strong winds spread it, just pick up and blow embers and start other fires."

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