If this year isn’t the driest on record for the Vineyard, it is certainly one of the driest, according to meteorologists. So far the Vineyard has received just over eight inches of precipitation through Tuesday, about half its yearly average over the same time period.

The unusual conditions have meant an elevated risk of brush and other fires, and the Vineyard has been part of a fire weather advisory for the region for much of the past few weeks.

Ben Sipprell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, says that, for the Vineyard, this year’s drought is surpassed only by one year, 1946. But the records for that year are unreliable and possibly inaccurate, he says.

“It’s pretty amazing to see the amount of precipitation that we’ve received in the region,” he said. “At a lot of locations in the first 90 to 100 days of the year, it has been the lowest ever recorded in the last 100 years, at around 40 to 50 per cent of the average total precipitation. That’s pretty substantial.”

Weather systems that normally bring spring showers to the area are foundering en route, Mr. Sipprell says.

“If any storm systems are getting over to us, there just isn’t a lot of available moisture because it’s being cut off by high pressure that’s situated over the western Atlantic and the southeastern United States,” he said.

The exceptional weather has meant extra vigilance for Manuel F. Corellus State Forest supervisor John Varkonda.

“It’s dry out there,” he said on Thursday.

In fact, the conditions have been too dry to carry out controlled burns in the State Forest. The burns are used to reduce the amount of available tinder on the forest floor. After removing more than 230 acres of dead red pine stands that had succumbed to a fungal disease over the past few decades, there are still two patches of the dead, non-native trees left, totalling 30 acres. But Mr. Varkonda says that the familiar scrub oak and natural forest on the Island is more of a fire concern than the orderly rows of crumbling red pine.

“No matter if you’re in the state forest or south of the West Tisbury-Edgartown Road, all that oak just likes to burn,” he said. “It’s a fire-adapted ecosystem.”

But the Vineyard’s location may be its greatest bulwark against forest fire.

“We’re in a high fire danger here, but because of the proximity to the ocean and because our relative humidities are usually higher than the mainland, we haven’t been under a red flag warning,” he said, referring to the weather service’s most severe fire advisory. “But it doesn’t mean you can relax your guard.”

At Polly Hill Arboretum, ground manager Tom Clark says that the weather has meant more watering of younger plantings.

“If we don’t get any rain soon we’ll start to looking at some real detrimental effects, especially on newly planted things that don’t have a really well-established root system,” he said.

In Edgartown, water department foreman Shane Ben David says that so far the town’s water supply has remained stable and that residents do not need to limit their water usage just yet.

“At this point in time we don’t see any need to worry, but we’re keeping a close eye on things,” he said.

Jessica Rennells, a climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell says that prolonged droughts, and, conversely, more extreme storms, are predicted by climate change models but that this year’s arid weather cannot be tied definitively to a warming planet.

“We really can’t say whether one season can be attributed to climate change or not,” she said on Thursday. “But drought conditions are something we would expect in a changing climate and something we’re looking to be better prepared for in the future. It is more likely we’ll see more seasons like this because of climate change.”

While the relentlessly sunny and unseasonably warm weather has meant an early beachgoing season for many Islanders, for Mr. Varkonda it has been more a cause for concern than jubilation.

“It’s not really the best thing for the tourist industry but what we really need is a couple of days of light rain,” he said.

Relief may be in sight. Forecasters are predicting rain for much of the next four days for the Island.