By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – The weekly update of the U.S. Drought Monitor was released Thursday and it shows drought conditions continuing to expand across Colorado.

Specifically, the extreme category (D3) drought showed the most growth, expanding from 9% to 13% of the state.

Extreme drought conditions are now showing up on the far southeast plains in addition the much of southwest Colorado.

According to the Colorado Climate Center in Fort Collins this is the largest area covered by extreme drought since before the 2013 floods.

Prior to the record floods, Colorado experienced two extremely dangerous and deadly fire seasons in a row.

Roughly 250,000 acres burned in Colorado with hundreds of homes lost to the flames in 2012.

It was a similar story in 2013 with approximately 200,000 acres and hundreds of structures lost to wildfires.

Waldo Canyon Fire (credit: CBS)

A Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane firefighting helicopter drops water on a hotspot burning close to homes near Horsetooth Reservoir June 11 near Laporte, Colorado. The High Park Fire in Larimer County has burned almost 37,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures. There is no containment of the fire, which is burning in the mountains about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Co. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

A home burns on Day 2 of the Black Forest Fire. (credit: CBS)

Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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