By Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – After improvements to the drought situation in Colorado through most of the summer, the weekly drought monitor released Thursday morning showed a sharp increase in abnormally dry areas.

A week ago 52% of Colorado was classified as abnormally dry which is the precursor to bona fide drought. This week the number has jumped to 65% including the entire Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas which was void of any drought category from June through August.

(source: CBS)

Also troubling is the lack of any recent improvement to the extreme and exceptional drought which has plagued northwest Colorado since August 2020.

The dry soil in Colorado will combine with very warm temperatures, low humidity, and occasionally gusty winds on Thursday to create high fire danger. A Red Flag Warning has been issued from Noon until 7 p.m. for most of the northern mountains including the Rocky Mountain National Park region as well the the Steamboat Springs area. The I-70 corridor west of Copper Mountain is also included as well as most of the Western Slope including the entire Grand Junction area.

(source: CBS)

Friday will be cooler for Denver and the Front Range but temperatures won’t change much for the high country so fire danger will remain elevated. A Fire Weather Watch (which eventually will become a Red Flag Warning) has already been issued for Friday and covers areas farther east and south including Summit, Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Park Counties.

(source: CBS)

The next chance for any rain in Colorado will arrive this weekend but it’s only a small chance initially for the Western Slope and then the mountains. Denver and the Front Range should remain mostly dry through Sunday.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri