Fire Danger 'Extremely Critical' in the Southwest and Southern High Plains Tuesday

Chris Dolce
Published: April 17, 2018

Explosive wildfire growth could occur Tuesday in the Southwest and southern High Plains from a combination of plummeting humidity levels, high winds and dry vegetation across those regions.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued an "extremely critical" fire weather outlook across much of New Mexico, western Texas, western Oklahoma, southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado. This is due to the expectation of winds gusting 50 to 70 mph overlapping with very low humidity levels in the 3 to 10 percent range.

(MORE: Deadly Wildfires Strike the Southern Plains Last Week)

"Given dry fuels and ongoing drought, the stage will be set for fast-moving fires exhibiting extreme behavior," said NOAA in its outlook for the region.

Red flag warnings for fire danger have been issued by the National Weather Service from eastern Arizona and New Mexico into the southern and central High Plains.

Fire Weather Alerts

The wildfire threat is at a level similar to what was observed late last week when large fires blossomed over western Oklahoma and charred hundreds of thousands of acres, killing two people.

One wildfire near Leedey, Oklahoma, has burned more than 245,000 acres and another close to Woodward has burned close to 68,000 acres, according to the Associated Press.

"We're out there strengthening fire lines ... widening lines to make sure they're in real good shape with the wind that is on the horizon," spokesman Todd Schroeder told the APs.

Although extremely dangerous wildfire conditions are in place, some potentially good news may arrive late this week: a new storm system could bring much-needed rainfall to the parched southern High Plains on Friday.

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