PUEBLO, Colo. — Fire danger will remain a concern over the next few days in southern Colorado, with "widespread critical to extreme" conditions on Friday, according to the National Weather Service out of Pueblo.
The National Weather Service said strong winds will return Thursday afternoon and fire danger will increase across the southern part of Colorado, especially the San Luis Valley and Baca County.
The below areas in pink are currently under a red flag warning, meaning conditions are currently ideal for rapid fire spread, from noon to 9 p.m. Thursday. Much of the same area will be back under the warning on Friday.
However, Friday's outlook appears "much worse," the NWS said, with widespread critical to extreme fire weather conditions due to 25-35 mph wind, 50-60 mph gusts, and low humidity. Everybody in southern Colorado should avoid any activities that could start a wildfire, NWS said.
The highest fire danger will be present along and south of the Arkansas River and east of Interstate 25 on Friday.
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In addition to the San Luis Valley, Fremont County, the Wet and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the Wet Mountain Valley, all of the southeast plains are under a red flag warning from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.
The NWS out of Denver said southeast Elbert County and south Lincoln County will remain under a red flag warning from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday because "any fire that starts will have the potential to spread rapidly, and would be difficult if not impossible to control."
Teller County, Lake County and Chaffee County will also see gusty winds, and will be under a fire weather watch from Friday morning through the evening.
Strong northerly winds will diminish across most of the area by the evening and into Saturday, though the weekend looks breezy across the far southeast plains. Some locations may see critical fire weather on Saturday morning as well, with 25 mph winds and gusts up to 50 mph.
Another round of critical fire weather is likely across southern Colorado, especially south of Highway 50, on Sunday and Monday and possibly through the rest of the week.
Much of the foothills, Front Range, northwestern counties, eastern plains and southern counties have fire restrictions. Click here to learn more about each county's rules regarding fire danger. Click here to sign up for county emergency notifications.