Fire danger high as hot, dry, windy conditions persist
Weather forecasters and firefighters are continuing to monitor hot, dry conditions in western Colorado, as winds are expected to pick up today and Wednesday, creating a prime opportunity for the smallest of sparks to turn into large conflagrations.
Most of western Colorado and eastern Utah is under a red flag warning until this 8 p.m. today for persistent above-normal temperatures, low humidities and stronger winds. A red flag warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A fire weather watch, which means critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur, is in effect for those same areas on Wednesday.
“Wildfires could start easily and grow rapidly, becoming difficult to control,” the National Weather Service in Grand Junction posted in a forecast on its website this morning. “A stronger disturbance will move through on Wednesday, leading to the potential for critical fire weather conditions as well.
Hot and dry weather in Grand Junction prompted Mesa County, the city of Grand Junction and the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Junction Field Office to enact fire restrictions last week. Garfield County and the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office adopted similar restrictions on Monday.
Today is expected to mark the 13th day in a row that the high temperature in Grand Junction has reached at least 94 degrees. No measurable rain has fallen since June 2, when just 0.02 inches were recorded at Grand Junction Regional Airport. No precipitation is in the forecast for at least the next week.
Hot and dry conditions haven’t helped Grand Valley firefighters who have been abnormally busy this month, responding to numerous brush and house fires.