A Hot And Dry Weekend Means Prime Fire Conditions In Colorado’s High Country

Red Flag Warning Colorado's High Country on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Colorado’s High Country on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.

Fire danger is expected to be elevated in the high country this weekend with warmer weather and dry conditions. 

The National Weather Service issued Red-Flag Warnings for the San Luis Valley, Grand Junction, the Upper Arkansas River Valley and Fremont County, said Eric Petersen with the National Weather Service. The warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday but fire conditions are possible Sunday. 

“Those areas haven’t had much rain lately so the fuels and the grasses and trees in those areas are pretty dry,” he said. “A lot of times we kind of let our guard down this time of year with the monsoon and usually we’re fairly moist, but these areas have kind of missed out on rain the last couple of weeks.”

Humidity is expected to be below 15 percent with 25-mile-per-hour wind gusts. People camping in the Red Flag areas should be cautious and make sure they put their campfires out properly, Petersen said.

A fire broke out at the Palisade Peach Festival Friday night after a firework show, according to the East Orchard Mesa Fire Department. The cause of the fire is under investigation but fireworks are the suspected cause.

About three to five acres were burned on the South Side of the Colorado River. One vehicle was damaged but no homes or orchards were damaged. No injuries were reported either. 

The fire department said the fire could grow on Saturday given the conditions. The Tilman Bishop State Wildlife Area is closed. 

The National Weather Service predicts afternoon and evening thunderstorms on Saturday in the far eastern plains of Colorado.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released earlier this week shows Colorado has some abnormally dry conditions in the northwest, southwest and southeast corners of the state.