A fire weather watch originally issued Saturday has become a red flag warning for most of southeast Colorado Monday. Portions of western Colorado have also been placed under a warning. Fire danger and a high wind watch are on tap for Tuesday as well.
The warning for southeast Colorado will be in effect from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. due to west winds gusting as high as 45 miles per hour and relative humidity dropping as low as five percent. With dry fuels in the drought-stricken area, extreme fire behavior is possible, and fires that do start could spread rapidly - and require evacuations. All outdoor burning and other activities that could spark a fire should be avoided.
In the southeast, the warning covers all of Baca, Prowers, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Las Animas, Bent, Otero, Crowley, Costilla, Huerfano, Pueblo, El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Custer and Alamosa counties. Portions of Saguache, Rio Grand, Conejos, and Elbert counties are also included. The warning extends into western Kansas, as well as the Oklahoma panhandle, western Texas, and all of New Mexico.
For the west slope, portions of La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel, Montrose, Garfield, and Rio Blanco along the New Mexico and Utah border are under a warning from noon until 6:00 p.m. Much of Delta county is also under a warning. West winds will gust up to 40 mph, while relative humidity will range from 12 to 18 percent.
Temperatures across the southeast will be near 80 Monday before dropping back to 50s and 60s Tuesday and Wednesday. Western Colorado will see upper 60s and low 70s Monday.
(Update 2: added red flag warnings for western Colorado and neighboring states. Update 1: This article has been updated to add Lincoln and eastern Elbert counties to the warning)