By Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – The combination of exceptional drought, gusty winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures will again create an environment ripe for wildfires on Colorado’s Western Slope.

As of Tuesday morning, there were more than 20 wildfires burning in the state. Many of the fires are small, but some have grown to consume thousands of acres including the Oil Springs fire between Grand Junction and Rangely which was over 7,000 acres in size as of the latest update. The West fire in far northwest Colorado is over 3,000 acres, and the Sylvan fire between Eagle and Aspen was over 1,200 acres Tuesday morning.

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Unfortunately, the chance for favorable weather conditions in the area of any of these fires is unlikely through at least Wednesday morning. The forecast calls for more sunny, dry, and warmer than usual weather.

Similar conditions are also expected near Mesa Verde National Park where the Trail Canyon fire is about 900 acres in southwest Colorado.

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All of these areas are under a Red Flag Warning for the danger of existing fires spreading and new fire starting from 12 p.m. until as late as 9 p.m. Tuesday. North Park (Walden) and Middle Park (Kremmling) are also included in the warning.

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In terms of Denver and the Front Range, it will also remain dry on Tuesday with temperatures reaching at least 20 degrees above Monday when the high temperature was only 72 degrees.

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Wednesday looks even hotter with the potential for 100 degrees in some areas especially in Weld County.

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Then a big change in the weather pattern will develop starting Thursday with an increase in moisture across much of Colorado. This will increase the chance for showers and thunderstorms in the Denver metro area to at least 50% on Thursday and similar chances are expected for Friday and Saturday. The mountains have an even better chance for rain during this three day period.

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Meteorologist Ashton Altieri