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High Fire Danger Thursday in Southern Colorado

PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
Chris Sorensen

Portions of southeast and south central Colorado will be at an elevated risk for rapidly spreading wildfires Thursday.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning, set to start at 9:00 a.m., for Prowers, Baca, Las Animas, Huerfano, Custer and Fremont counties. Portions of Costilla, Alamosa, Saguache, and El Paso counties are also impacted. The warning is expected to continue until 5:00 p.m.
Despite snow over the weekend, fuels are dry, and humidity will fall as low as nine percent. Temperatures as high as the 60s, along with southwest winds gusting to 40 miles per hour, add to the risk. 
Teller and northern El Paso counties will also experience gusty winds and low humidity, however those area still have snow cover, minimizing the fire risk.
Drought conditions, which have rapidly deteriorated since early December, cover nearly all of Colorado’s eastern plains, including a portion of southeast Baca county that recently entered severe drought.
Colorado’s warning is part of a much larger warned area that extends into New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Most of the southern two-thirds of Kansas will be affected by risky fire conditions.
A red flag warning means that critical fire conditions are occurring. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warn temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.