By Chris Sorensen
Fire danger will be elevated over the weekend as unseasonably warm temperatures return to Kiowa County and all of southeast Colorado. Rain and snow are not expected over the coming days.
Sunny skies and a high in the mid-60s are in store for Friday. The low will drop to the upper 20s. Baca County will be under a Red Flag Warning due to fire potential.
A Red Flag Warning is in place for all southeast Colorado Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. due to high temperatures, which will be in the mid-70s, and low humidity. Outdoor burning and any activities that could start a fire should be avoided. The watch includes all or portions of Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln, Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Custer, Huerfano, Las Animas and Baca Counties.
Saturday's overnight low will be in the mid-30s
A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Sunday. Conditions will be similar to Saturday as the temperature returns to the mid-70s. Strong southwest winds are also expected. Gusts will be around 35 miles-per-hour, while sustained wind will be in the 15 to 20 mph range by the afternoon. Overnight, winds will drop to around 15 mph, and the temperature will be in the mid- to upper 30s.
Looking to the week ahead, Monday's high falls back to around 60, however strong winds return. Gusts as high as 40 mph out of the west are expected, with sustained wind in the 20 to 25 mph range during the afternoon. With the strong wind and low dew point, fire danger will remain high throughout the day, and a Red Flag conditions are possible during the afternoon hours. Wind will decrease to 10 to 15 mph overnight as the low falls to around 20.
Tuesday is expected to be the coolest day of the week - though the temperature will be near seasonal norms. Look for a high in the mid-50s and an overnight low in 20s.
Another warm up starts Wednesday as the high reaches the low 60s, and further increases to the low 70s Thursday.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur.
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This article has been updated to reflect Saturday's Fire Weather Watch converting to a Red Flag Warning, a Fire Weather Watch issued for Sunday, and include Saturday's fire weather map from the National Weather Service.