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Fire danger remains high as Denver nears five straight weeks without precipitation

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Posted at 12:56 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-14 14:56:24-05

DENVER – Fire danger remains high across Colorado as much of the Front Range and eastern plains are in the midst the fourth-straight week without a drop of precipitation.

Several more small fires sparked over the weekend and Monday morning, and though none have exploded like the Junkins Fire did in October, the state is extremely dry and prone to late-season fire danger.

Monday marks the 33rd straight day that Denver has gone without measurable precipitation, and the only rain or snow in the forecast could finally come overnight Wednesday into Thursday.

But those chances have continued to wane as we go along, and it’s unclear how much, if any, the city will actually get.

The latest figures in the U.S. Drought Monitor show 98.4 percent is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions and 30.8 percent is in a period of moderate drought.

The worst drought conditions are along the Front Range and eastern plains of Colorado.

Drought conditions are expected to worsen as La Niña arrives this week in the U.S. The weather pattern occurs when water in the Pacific Ocean cools, and usually brings higher precipitation to the Northwest and northern Rockies, but that comes with drought conditions across the American South.

Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have said in recent days this La Niña will likely be weak and short-lived, adding there is a 55 percent chance it will persist through the winter.

The current trajectory for La Niña means Colorado could be a bit drier than usual this winter, though it should be exempted from the driest conditions.

Many counties still have fire restrictions in place, especially in the Rocky Mountain foothills and plains east of the Front Range.

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