Craig briefs for April 19

Fire Weather Watch posted for today

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— The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the lower elevations of Northwest and West Central Colorado and Northwest Utah.

The watch is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Warm, dry southwest winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour and gusts up to 40 mph are expected ahead of a storm system that is moving into the Great Basin area.

Low humidity also will accompany the gusty conditions. High winds are one of the main factors that drive fires out of control, the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit reported in a news release.

The Weather Service provides local weather information to the public at its Web site, www.weather.gov/gjt.

Obtain a weather forecast before starting any projects that involve using fire and plan accordingly, the Fire Management Unit advises.

A shovel, water and bucket always should be on hand. If ditch or agriculture burns are planned, call the Moffat County Sheriff's Office at 824-4495 with date and location of burn.

Ritter: Flags lowered to honor firefighters

Gov. Bill Ritter ordered Friday U.S. and Colorado flags be lowered across the state today in honor of firefighters who perished earlier this week.

John Schwartz, 38, and Terry DeVore, 30, died Tuesday while responding to fires in Crowley County.

Both men were volunteer firefighters for the Olney Springs Volunteer Fire Department and corrections officers at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility outside Ordway.

The funeral for Schwartz took place at 3 p.m. Friday at United Methodist Church in Fowler. A joint memorial service for DeVore and Schwartz will take place at 10 a.m. today at Crowley County High School.

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