Extreme Fire Danger declared for northwest corner of Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

Extreme Fire Danger declared for northwest corner of Colorado

Craig sits in ’Critical’ zone; northeast Utah also ’Extreme’

A little, egg-shaped blob of pink appeared on the NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center map of the continental U.S. Thursday, surrounded by a larger, reddish, oblong-shaped blob. The red blob is itself surrounded by an amoebic orange shape.

The pink covers the northwest corner of Colorado and part of northeast Utah. It indicates “Extremely Critical” fire danger, per the map. According to a Tweet from the service, it’s the first time such an indication has been made for this region since 2006.

The red and orange designations — “Critical” and “Elevated,” respectively — are also present in much of western Colorado, with essentially all of the west half of the state covered in orange.

NOAA National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center's map, indicating Extremely Critical fire danger in northwest Colorado.
Courtesy photo / National Weather Service

“Clear skies across the region are allowing for strong surface heating and deep vertical mixing,” the service website reads, “resulting in (relative humidity) values already dropping to 10% and sustained south-southwesterly surface winds of 15-20 mph (gusts around 30 mph) across much of the region this morning.”

The combination of heat and wind seems to be the primary concern for the region.

“These winds and relative humidities suggest that meteorological conditions will likely exceed extremely critical criteria,” the website reads. “In addition, fuels in the area are extremely dry. Dry and breezy conditions the last two days have further increased the (energy release components) in this region.”

Craig sheriff and fire warden KC Hume told the Craig Press Thursday that a fire restriction or even ban is certainly under consideration for the district.

“It’s an in-depth process,” Hume said. “We had our call with stakeholders Monday, and it’s a conversation we’re having every fire season. It’s all based off science.

“But it’s a foregone conclusion. We knew before the snow left the ground we’d be here. It’s an extreme drought. Next week, highs will be in the high 90s across our area of responsibility. It could be an interesting summer in many aspects.”

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