Clifton fire

Clifton firefighters battle a fire in a mobile home Monday morning on Wren Wood Court. Two residents were safely evacuated along with pets, but the home was a total loss. Sentinel Staff Photo.

Grand Junction reached 90 degrees for the first time this year, and a red flag warning is in place until midnight.

The National Weather Service forecast shows western Colorado will have dry air across the region with widespread red flag conditions.

Red flag warnings occur when warm temperatures, low humidity and stronger, high winds combine to increase the risk of fire danger.

“A combination of those three things have to line up for red flag warning days to occur,” said Erin Walter, a Weather Service meteorologist. “We are seeing unusually warm temperatures right now, and we are unusually dry. The conditions are amplified due to unseasonable warm and dry conditions.”

Walter said she expects stronger winds with dry conditions today. She said wind gusts were reported up to 35 mph Monday at the Grand Junction Regional Airport. Gusts today are expected to exceed 40 mph, along with temperatures again approaching 90 degrees.

Clifton Fire Chief Charles Balke said there were a couple of red flag warning days in his district last week as well.

“Fuel moisture is definitely drying out. Fire danger is here,” he said.


Balke said that one of the conditions of a red flag warning day -- strong winds -- played a role in how his crew battled a structure fire Monday morning.

Clifton firefighters responded to a structure fire involving a single-wide mobile home on Wren Wood Court.

Two residents were safely evacuated along with two cats and two lizards, but the home was a total loss.

Balke said Clifton firefighters were responding to a medical call on the other side of the block when they saw smoke.

“Upon arrival, they saw flames and attempted to use a fire extinguisher in the unit to put it out, but it was growing too rapidly,” he said.

The Grand Junction Fire Department assisted on the fire call.

Balke said the residents of the home were sleeping at the time and neighbors woke them up, knocking on their door to alert them.

Propane bottles exploded on scene.

The fire was put out in less than an hour. The investigation is ongoing.

Balke said the mobile home and a fifth-wheel camper were a total lossk along with one vehicle on scene.