Parts of the Plain States are looking at another day for favorable weather conditions for a high risk of wildfire spread. The focus area today includes locations farther south than Sunday. The areas of higher concern are noted with red flag warning (highlighted in the graphic below as the pink shaded areas) which include parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Montana.
The vegetation is already dry in these regions. So grasses, crops and other fine fuels will catch on fire easily with any sparks. Weather conditions for late this morning and into the afternoon will support rapid wildfire spread. While afternoon highs will be cooler than Sunday in the Northern and Central Plains, mainly in the 70s, the low relative humidity and strong winds will aid in wildfire spread if fires are ignited. Farther south into Oklahoma and Texas, afternoon temperatures will climb into the 80s and 90’s.
In addition to the grasses, the atmosphere is very dry across the entire central part of the US with relative humidity values in the teens and 20’s this afternoon.
Strong gusty winds will be a key factor for wildfire spread. For Texas and Oklahoma, a dry cold front will continue to dive south allowing winds to increase and shift to the north/northwest through the late morning and early afternoon. The graphic below highlights sustained wind speeds in knots. In areas with Red Flag Warnings winds speeds of 20 – 30 knots (23 – 35 mph) will be common with gusts of 25 to around 40 knots (~ 30 to 45 mph).
While the prevailing winds speeds will be from the northwest and west; wildfires can create their own environment to change the wind speeds and direction. If you find yourself near a fire, be alert for radically changing directions that will change the fire movement.
Again with harvest season in full swing across much if the central US, farmers need to be conscious of potential sparks coming from their farming equipment.
Ranchers also need to be conscious of any activities that may spark fires as well as monitor for any wildfire spread for the health and protection of their livestock. With these strong winds, especially in areas of stronger gusts, the fires will move quickly.
If you see a fire, contact your local fire department immediately vs trying to respond to the fire on your one as these fires will like get out of control very quickly.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.