Warm and dry conditions have taken hold over Eastern Colorado this week, and increasing winds ahead of an approaching upper level trough will result in significant fire danger over the next couple of days. The downslope flow is resulting in unseasonably warm temperatures across the plains of Colorado this afternoon, with some areas possibly approaching daily record highs. Breezy west winds along with relative humidity values dipping into the single digits for some areas have resulted in high fire danger this afternoon. On Thursday, winds will become even stronger from the southwest, with gusts to 50mph or higher possible for many areas, especially south of the Palmer Divide. These strong winds along with dry fuels and low relative humidity will result in extreme fire danger. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has outlined Thursday’s fire danger in the map below.
On Friday, a cold front will sweep across Eastern Colorado, resulting in sharply colder temperatures (highs about 30 degrees colder than Thursday!). There may be some snow shower activity across the plains on Friday, but in general moisture will be limited. Despite the cooler temperatures, winds are going to be very strong again out of the northwest. If any fires begin prior to Friday, then the wind shift from southwest to northwest late Thursday night is something that will be of concern for fire behavior.