Fire danger at its worst this week, Colorado officials warn

By Ellie Mulder Updated: April 13, 2018 at 4:58 pm • Published: April 10, 2018 0
photo - FILE - In a Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, a fire danger sign indicates conditions are extreme in the wooded areas along the Rio Grande on the northern edge of Albuquerque, N.M. State and federal land managers and other officials gathered in Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, to warn of a potentially severe fire season around the state as dry conditions persist and spring winds ramp up. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)
FILE - In a Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, a fire danger sign indicates conditions are extreme in the wooded areas along the Rio Grande on the northern edge of Albuquerque, N.M. State and federal land managers and other officials gathered in Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, to warn of a potentially severe fire season around the state as dry conditions persist and spring winds ramp up. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

Thursday could be "one of the worst days of the season" for fire danger in Colorado's lower elevations and plains, state officials warned Tuesday.

On Thursday, "low relative humidity, high winds, and spiking heat will bring extreme fire danger to Colorado, specifically along the Front Range and the southern portion of Colorado," says a news release from the state Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo has issued red flag warnings for Wednesday and Thursday in much of southeast Colorado, including El Paso and Teller counties.

In Colorado Springs, the warnings are in place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Video: Emily Roehler's latest forecast.

Winds of 10 to 20 mph are expected to speed to 20 to 30 mph Wednesday, with gusts up to 40 mph, the weather service reported. Areas of blowing dust are expected after 10 a.m. Thursday, with 10- to 20-mph winds ratcheting up to 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

The winds will slow slightly at night both days.

Temperatures are expected to reach 78 degrees Wednesday and 75 degrees Thursday.

To help prevent wildfires, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control gave these tips:

- Don't mow or trim grass on windy days.

- Ensure campfires are completely extinguished, and never leave a fire unattended.

- Never pull your vehicle over in dry grass, as one spark can start a wildfire.

- Properly and carefully extinguish cigarette butts.

- Make sure off-road vehicles and chainsaws are equipped with updated spark arresters.

- Be careful with welding and any other open flames outdoors.

"With the majority of fire starts being human-caused, in combination with the drought conditions in Colorado, we are at increased risk of some of the largest, most damaging wildfires," division Director Mike Morgan said in the release. "But by working together and doing our part, we can make our communities safer."

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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