The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) warns that we could see an “outbreak of fire weather conditions” across portions of the Plains states this week.
We’ve seen several days of conditions favorable for wildfires across the middle of the country in recent days. The most notable inferno was the NCAR Fire that prompted the evacuation of thousands of homes near Boulder, Colorado, this past weekend.
Fire weather conditions exist when an area with dry fuels (such as brush and grass) experience low humidity, high winds, and relatively warm temperatures. These conditions can allow fires to quickly spark and rapidly spread out of control. A healthy fire in favorable conditions can consume thousands of acres in short order, posing a grave threat to life and property.
We could see several areas of critical fire weather conditions over the next couple of days, according to the SPC’s latest outlooks.
Tuesday looks to see the most widespread risk, with critical fire weather conditions spreading over western sections of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, with parts of eastern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado included in the greatest risk.
These areas could see an “outbreak of dangerous fire-weather conditions” on Tuesday, the SPC noted in its latest outlook, which is strong wording from fire forecasters on the potential for dangerous infernos across the affected areas.
The threat includes Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, and Odessa in Texas; Guymon and Woodward in Oklahoma; as well as Dodge City and Garden City in southwestern Kansas.
Widespread red flag warnings are in effect ahead of Tuesday’s risk for critical fire weather. “Do not throw cigarettes onto the ground or out of a moving vehicle. Keep vehicles on driving surfaces and do not drive through tall grass. Stow chains properly,” the National Weather Service office in Midland said in its red flag warning.
The threat for favorable fire weather conditions will continue into Wednesday for portions of the southern Plains.