DENVER – Residents in at least three southeastern Colorado counties are advised to remain vigilant and refrain from activities which could start a wildfire after the National Weather Service in Boulder announced a Red Flag Warning that will be effect until 7 p.m. Monday.
Strong winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels in Huerfano, Las Animas and Baca Counties will lead to critical fire weather conditions that will spread across the southern I-25 corridor and southern plains, bringing conditions favorable for rapid rates of fire growth and spread starting at around 1 p.m. Monday, according to the NWS in Boulder.
Forecasters said a one-to-two-hour period of near critical fire weather conditions could spread into portions of Pueblo and southern El Paso County Monday afternoon which could cause elevated fire danger.
Though the Red Flag Warning is forecast to end by 7 p.m., fire danger will continue.
A Fire Weather Watch will remain in effect through Tuesday evening for strong westerly winds between 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph possible, low relative humidity and dry fuels for much of the area, including Fremont, southern El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano, western Las Animas, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Kiowa and Baca Counties, forecasters with the NWS in Boulder said.
With the combination of strong low level winds and low relative humidity values in the southeastern plains, a Fire Weather Watch is in effect for southern Lincoln county starting 12 PM Tuesday afternoon to 6 PM Tuesday evening. #COwx pic.twitter.com/qNqolyVAYs— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 18, 2021
These westerly winds are part of a weather system that’s moving north and east across northern Colorado which, when combined with much drier air working into the region, could bring critical fire weather conditions to much of southeastern Colorado Tuesday, forecasters said.
The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows more than half of the state is in a state of moderate drought, with 13.63% of Colorado experiencing extreme drought. The report shows much of Southeastern Colorado is abnormally dry.
Late last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report from a task force that found the Southwest drought that has persisted since last year would not have been as intense had it not been for human-caused global warming causing higher temperatures from January 2020 through August 2021.