High winds, low humidity lead to fire danger

Red flag warning issued for Northwest Colorado; blazes could spread rapidly

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— High winds, low humidity and the possibility of dry grass and other fuels on the ground prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for Northwest Colorado on Tuesday.

The warning, while not a prohibition against burning, is a strong indication that anyone burning should take extra precautions, said Fire Marshall Jay Muhme.

"Any time there is a red flag warning out, people are advised not to burn," Muhme said. "It's more for information only, there's no real law or anything against it."

Routt County Communications dispatcher Lorie McCarty said dispatchers are warning callers against burning when they call in controlled burns, but there are still several agricultural burns active in the county as of 11:30 a.m.

Winds today are likely to be between 15 and 25 mph, said forecaster Mike Chamberlain, of the National Weather Service's Grand Junction office.

Gusts may surge up to 35 mph, and some regions may see gusts up to 45 mph.

"This indicated for people in the field that if a fire were to start: there may be very rapid movement of the fire and acceleration of the fire," Chamberlain said. "It's very dangerous for field personnel."

The red flag warning is expected to last through the afternoon and evening.

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