Another day with unseasonably warm temperatures, low relative humidity, windy conditions is leading to a critical to extreme situation for wildfire spread in the Central and Southern Plains.
Weather Conditions Fueling the Wildfire Risk Today
Afternoon highs will climb into the lower 70’s across Nebraska to the lower and mid 80’s across Eastern Colorado and New Mexico as well as much of Kansas, Oklahoma Texas. These warm temperatures combined with relative humidity levels in the single digits to around 30 % and winds of 15 to around 30 mph with gusts between 40 and 50 mph are creating dangerous conditions for rapid wildfire spread.
NWS SPC has outlined Southwestern Colorado, Northeastern New Mexico, the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles as well as Southwestern Kansas for an extreme level of wildfire spread. This is the highest category and is very concerning situation. A broader area of critical and elevated risk extends into southern Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.
NWS offices have issued Red Flag warnings for a broad area from Colorado to Missouri, into Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
The ESRI Wildfire Activity map at 8 am this morning indicated several fires in Central and eastern Oklahoma as well as several hot spots identified by satellite (noted by the red dots.)
Since grasses and brush are dry, a single spark or cigarette but could quickly lead to a rapidly moving and growing wildfire so smoking outside, grilling or throwing a cigarette butt out the window of your vehicle is not wise.
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 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 own.
For information focused on Ranchers and agriculture related to wildfire, Texas extension office has some suggestions including what to monitor, secondary injuries and problems for cattle, how to clean up after a wildfire, etc.
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.