Unseasonably warm temperatures, low relative humidity, windy conditions are leading to a heightened threat for wildfire spread this afternoon.
Weather Conditions Fueling the Wildfire Risk
Afternoon highs today across much of New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma will climb into the mid 70’s to around 80.
Relative humidity will drop into the single digits and teens while southwest winds will be sustained between 20 and 30 mph with higher gusts.
In addition the SPIA Index Fire Spread parameters show very high to extreme numbers for the growth and spread of a wildfire.
— SPIA® Index (@SPIAindex) January 30, 2016
For more information on the fire spread index parameters see the SPIA index’s Fire Index website.
Thus, the NWS Storm Prediction Center has outlined areas of Critical and Elevated Risk for wildfire spread across Western Oklahoma, Texas and Southern New Mexico.
The NWS weather Forecasts offices in these areas have posted Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches for the increased risk of Wildfire spread. Since grasses and brush are dry, a single spark or cigarette but could quickly lead to a rapidly moving and growing wildfire.
The Wildfire threat continues into Sunday for parts of New Mexico and Texas.
Current Fire Map
As of noon CST. the ESRI Fire map shows several potential hot spots in the Red Flag Warning area. The red dots are “temperature hot spots” which may be fires detected by the MODIS satellite.
For the latest map see ESRI’s Fire Map.
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
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.