Colorado weather: Dangerous fire conditions loom as high wind blows through the state Sunday

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A lone wind power turbine and a cloudburst over the Plains south of Limon.

Much of Colorado will experience extremely strong winds Sunday as a storm system travels north through the state. 

The National Weather Service has issued high wind alerts to several parts of the state, including the Four Corners region, southern Colorado, and the Denver metropolitan area. Forecasts predict gusts of wind could reach between 50 to 70 miles per hour in some high elevation areas. 

The high winds are combining with low humidity and relatively warm temperatures to bring ideal fire conditions to parts of the I-25 corridor. A red flag warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday for the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs and the southeast plains. 

“Over much of northeastern Colorado, current or recent snow cover will limit fire spread,” the NWS alert said. “However, areas south of Limon and the Denver-Boulder area have drier grasses and will also have the stronger winds and lower humidities so a Red Flag Warning has been issued for those areas.”

Open flames are expected to spread easily, so weather officials are warning those under the Red Flag Warning to avoid outdoor burning and any activity that could produce sparks.

While the winds aren’t causing critical fire conditions in the I-70 corridor, weather officials say blowing snow will cause low visibility and dangerous driving conditions in the mountains. 

The winds are expected to dissipate by Sunday evening, when a cold front that is not expected to bring high amounts of snow sweeps through Colorado.