The heat is on: dry, hot weather conditions expected on July 4th, all summer | CraigDailyPress.com

The heat is on: dry, hot weather conditions expected on July 4th, all summer

Sasha Nelson and Lauren Blair

Weather this summer is expected to be hot and dry, creating the perfect conditions for fires, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Lyons from Grand Junction.

A small cold front moved through the area on Thursday as most of Western Colorado was under a red flag warning, meaning strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures set the stage for high risk of wildfire.

When wind speeds of 15 miles per hour, gusting higher and sustained for three hours or more are combined with hot, dry conditions, it creates "fire weather conditions," Lyons said. "We will see rain eventually, but it does look like fire weather concerns will potentially continue through the summer."

Thursday's cooler air is expected to be followed by isolated afternoon thunderstorms Friday to Wednesday as the heat returns, and the warming trend will see temperatures hitting 90 degrees by the July 4th holiday.

The red flag warning should lift as winds calm; however, storms will bring a new weather hazard.

"The main threat will be lightening from these storms," Lyons said. "As we go into next week, heat will also be a concern."

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It's a forecast that makes City Pool Life Guard Caroline Riley smile. The pool will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. on Independence Day.

"If it's hot, it means a lot of kids come. I'd rather have a hot day than a cold day to sit in the chair," she said.

Josh Jackson and his crew at Structures Unlimited worked through the last 90-degree spell to build the new restrooms at Breeze Street Park.

They will hand the project back to APH Construction on Friday and plan to "head inside" during the next spell of hot weather, said Jackson.

City Parks and Recreation Department employees Edgar Israel Reyes and Nathan Duzik couldn't decide if the hot weather was good or bad.

"We are never happy, if it's too hot or too cold, but at least we are not like Texas with over 100 degree heat," Reyes said.

Reyes plans to enjoy a lazy July 4th holiday sleeping.

Duzik is looking forward to time with family, and while he doesn't like the hot weather, "At least it's better than 30 below."

To stay safe in the summer heat, Lyons recommends people "drink plenty of water. Check your back seat. Don't leave children or pets in the car and exercise caution when building fires.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education

Despite a lot of recent wildfire activity in Northwest Colorado and neighboring Utah, local officials see no cause to call off Craig’s Fourt of July fireworks display.

Hot and dry weather conditions have kept the Craig area under a red flag warning by the National Weather Service all week, but Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume said no fire bans are currently in effect in Moffat County.

“We take the fire conditions very seriously and our weather conditions, we are constantly monitoring that,” Hume said. “We have weekly calls that address the indices that would lead us to fire restrictions or fire bans and we haven’t reached that point.”

Craig’s annual fireworks display will go on at dusk on Tuesday evening. The show is funded at a cost of approximately $8,000, according to Hume, by the City of Craig, Moffat County and the Craig Rural Fire Protection District, which also manages the display.

Hume encouraged community members to refrain from putting on their own displays.

“My recommendation is to leave the fireworks to the professionals, as opposed to engaging in activity that can certainly be dangerous to the public and cause wildfires,” Hume said.

Colorado law prohibits basically anything that leaves the ground or explodes, Hume said. Permitted fireworks include fountains, ground spinners, smoke bombs, sparklers and small cars or tanks with limited pyrotechnics.

Illegal fireworks include firecrackers, mortars, roman candles, bottle rockets, cherry bombs and M80s. Possession of illegal fireworks in Colorado can be punishable by a fine of $50 to $750 and up to six months in jail.