FRISCO — While a cool and wet spring prevailed in the north-central mountains, it’s a different story in the southwestern part of the state, where a prolonged period of above normal temperatures and minimal precipitation have left fuels ready to burn at lower elevations.
Parts of the Four Corners area will be facing significant fire danger this weekend and early next week as temperatures rise to record or near-record highs. A Red Flag warning is in effect from 1 p.m. through 8 p.m. for the San Juan mountains below 9,000 feet and extending into the Jemez Mountains and the upper Rio Grande Valley of northern New Mexico.
Winds will gust up to 30 mph with relative humidity values in the lower teens combining to create critical fire conditions. Any fires that start are likely to spread rapidly, according to the National Weather Service.
Strong high pressure over the desert Southwest has already led to record highs in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the heat wave is expected to intensify. For western Colorado, temps are expected to run about 10 degrees above average Sunday and nudge up to near record levels Monday.
Red Flag warning for extreme fire weather continues across western Colorado
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters at the High Park Fire faced dangerous conditions Sunday, as afternoon wind gusts of up to 60 mph grounded helicopters and drove the flames into unburned fuels within the fire perimeter.
But for the most part, crews were able to hold established fire lines to keep the fire from growing into new new areas. According to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, the fire did burn about 1,000 acres of unburned area on the southeast side of the fire in the Laurence Creek Lane and Redstone area.
With the southwest winds expected to push the fire to the northwest, many crews were reassigned to maintaining the fire lines on the north side of the fire. The fire was most active Sunday on the southeastern flank where more firefighters were redeployed.
Burning restricted in some other parts of the high country; Summit County mulls fire ban
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With little relief in sight from the abnormally warm and dry spring conditions, Pitkin County this week enacted an open-ended fire ban with support from local jurisdictions. Most of western Colorado is under a red flag warning, including the valleys of Summit County.
The Pitkin County ban prohibits campfires and other outdoor burning, other than fires in permanent fire pits or fire grates, in designated campgrounds, picnic areas, or developed recreation sites. It also prohibits most smoking outdoor, as well as operating chainsaws without spark arresting devices, outdoor welding (except in cleared work areas, as well as fireworks.
In Summit County, local burn permits have been suspended.
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Wallow Fire, burning in east-central Arizona, is already Arizona’s largest wildfire ever and has now grown to more than half a million acres in size. Click here to visit the Wallow Fire photo gallery on Inciweb.
Red Flag warning along Front Range, gusts up to 80 mph in the mountains
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The snow may still be piled deep here in the high country of Colorado, but dry, warm air, combined with the potential for strong wind gusts have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for parts of the Front Range and extending up into foothill country just east of Summit County.
There could be a few showers Friday over the high ridges as a weak shortwave moves across the northern Rockies, bringing partly cloudy skies. Another weak trough is forecast to cross the area Sunday afternoon and evening, but in the transitional spring pattern, the forecast models are giving conflicting information, so the National Weather Service forecast is holding off on specific snowfall information for the next few days. Continue reading “Weatherblog: Warm-n-windy”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — Because of extreme fire danger, a fire ban is in effect in Summit County as of Sept. 20. The ban will remain in effect as long as local officials deem that fire danger is at a high level.
The fire ban prohibits open fires, the use of fireworks, and the sale of fireworks in unincorporated areas, not including National Forest Service property. Fires contained within liquid-fueled, gas fueled, or charcoal fueled stoves or grills are allowed on private property. Self-contained outdoor fire bowls, chimneys, chimineas, with screen covers, are allowed on private property if placed on a concrete or asphalt surface.
Charcoal fueled fires, within permanent fire pits, are allowed on private property providing the fire is under constant supervision and fire suppression apparatus is available at the location. Notification of the fire has to provided to the local fire district and tooth Summit County Sheriff’s Office by calling the communication center at (970) 668-8600.
Gusty winds, dry thunderstorms a dangerous combination for western Colorado
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A red flag fire warning has been extended to cover Summit County and rest of the high country, with the fire danger described as very high to extreme under dry skies. Locally, the fire danger is rated as extreme, with gusty southwest winds expected to develop ahead of a cool front approaching from the northwest. Click here to read the Red Flag warning.
The approaching front could trigger a few thunderstorms, especially in the northwestern part of the state, and the National Weather Service is warning that lightning strikes outside of rain shafts could easily spark wildfires that could spread quickly given the dry conditions.