By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Cross your fingers for the weather pattern to change and bring some widespread moisture to Colorado, especially in the south and western parts of our state. And if that doesn’t happen then let’s hope for a healthy and early monsoon season because without either one we could be facing a long summer full of wildfires.

A webcam picture from May 8 shows the lack of snow on peaks around Telluride.

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On Thursday the U.S. Drought Monitor released their weekly update and the news wasn’t good for Colorado. Widespread drought has expanded with some areas of extreme drought now showing up in the Arkansas River Valley on the southeast plains, in the San Luis Valley and across parts of the San Juan Mountain region.

Southern Colorado has been unusually warm for the last few weeks with some places like Alamosa setting numerous daily record highs. You can tell just how warm it has been in the south by looking at the statewide snowpack. While southern river basins had less snow than the north this season, they are also melting much faster.

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The latest national outlook from the National Interagency Fire Center shows June and July have a higher-than-normal chance to see significant wildland fire activity in southern and western Colorado. The entire San Juan Mountain region is included in the outlook for both months.

The agency will update their summer outlook again on June 1.

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(credit: NIFC)

(credit: NIFC)

Chris Spears