High winds fuel dangerous fire conditions Tuesday for the Front Range and Eastern Plains

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A sign warns motorists of high winds and hazardous travel on Hwy. 93 near Rocky Flats on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

The National Weather Service is warning people along the Front Range and on the Eastern Plains about the high risk of fires Tuesday. A red flag warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. this evening. 

Many communities can expect to see sustained wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour throughout the day. Combined with dry conditions, sparks can easily start large wildfires, according to the NWS. 

The most critical fire conditions are expected in the northeastern plains, including Weld, Morgan and Washington counties. 

In higher elevations, wind gusts topped 70 miles per hour early Tuesday morning. Boulder’s NCAR Mesa lab, near where a small wildfire caused evacuations last week, clocked winds at 76 miles per hour. 

By 6 a.m., crews had already responded to at least one small fire in Boulder County, which was quickly contained. 

Residents should follow basic fire safety tips to avoid causing a disaster, according to the NWS: 

  • Follow local fire burning restrictions. 
  • Avoid using outdoor equipment, such as lawn mowers, that may cause sparks. 
  • Make sure vehicle chains don’t drag on roads.
  • Pack a “go kit” in case you have to evacuate. 

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