DENVER (CBS4) – Already high fire danger will become even higher this weekend as warm and dry weather combines with gusty winds.
A storm system on the West Coast Friday will quickly move over Colorado starting Saturday night. As the storm approaches, wind gusts up to at least 35 mph will likely keep existing fires very active and could help spark new fires.
The National Weather Service has already issued a Fire Weather Watch for Saturday afternoon for a large part of the state. The watch should eventually be replaced with a Red Flag Warning and may expand to include even more of the state.
If a new fire were to start this weekend, it would spread extremely fast with the warm, dry, and windy conditions. Extreme and Exceptional drought (the two worst drought categories) cover more than 75% of Colorado.
Unfortunately, the same storm that will bring the wind will not bring much moisture. The mountains should see a few rain and snow showers on Sunday with up to 2 inches of snow accumulation above 10,000 feet. The chance for any measurable rain in the Denver metro area is small but it’s possible a few rain showers could occur on Sunday.
Prior to the storm arriving, it will be very warm again on Friday and Saturday with high temperatures returning to the 80s for Denver and the Front Range.
Air quality will also suffer again thanks to large amounts of wildfire smoke in the the air. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has declared the air unhealthy for everyone on Friday. Outdoor exercise is strongly discouraged and residents are urged to spend more time indoors than outdoors. Air Quality Alerts extend from Steamboat Springs to Wray and everywhere between including the entire Denver metro area.
It does turn cooler in Colorado for Sunday and Monday but most areas will remain above normal for the middle of October.