Hold onto your hats, Colorado. The weather is about to get wild once again. A combination strong hurricane-force winds, low relative humidities, and dry vegetation will increase the risk of fire danger throughout many parts of Colorado this week.
Critical fire weather conditions are expected throughout Tuesday, with the greatest threat in the northern Foothills, South Park, Middle Park, areas across the plains, near the Wyoming border, and over the Palmer Divide.
Red Flag Warnings for Tuesday will remain in effect until 6:00 PM for multiple zones including Upper Arkansas River Valley including Lake County and Chaffee County, Rampart Range including Pikes Peak and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, El Paso County including Monument, Black Forest, Fort Carson, and Colorado Springs, Fremont County including Canon City, Howard, and Texas Creek the San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountains, the I-25 corridor and the southeast plains.
A High Wind Watch will also remain in effect from late Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning for Rocky Mountain National Park, Laramie and Medicine Bow Mountains, and The Northern Front Range Foothills. West winds are forecasted to range from 30 to 50 mph, with gusts pushing up to hurricane-force speeds of 80 mph. Additional areas impacted include Cameron Pass, Rabbit Ears Range, Willow Creek Pass, Estes Park, Glendevey, Nederland, and Red Feather Lakes.
"Be extremely careful whatever you do and especially watch for falling trees," tweeted Rocky Mountain National Park. "Don't park under trees and use caution if hiking. Winds can mask the noise of falling trees"
Based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, wind speeds of 74 to 95 miles per hour would categorize a hurricane as a “category 1.” A “category 5” hurricane has wind speeds above 157 miles per hour.
"Strong winds will blow around unsecured objects," the National Weather Service warned on Tuesday. "Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may occur. Travel will be difficult for high profile vehicles."
Despite a cold front arriving late Wednesday afternoon and evening, increasing winds and low humidities will lead to another round of "extreme fire danger" for the San Luis Valley, eastern mountains, and all of the eastern plains. The fire danger is likely to ramp up again on Saturday ahead of another cold front expecting to push into the region.
Editor's Note: All weather statements are subject to change.