At a Glance
- Weather conditions will be conducive for a dangerous fire risk in parts of the Southern Plains through Saturday.
- These conditions include warm temperatures, dry air and strong winds.
- Red flag warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service.
The Southwest and Southern Plains faces a critical fire weather risk late this week, fueled by warm temperatures, dry air and strong winds.
Red flag warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service from northeastern New Mexico into the northwestern Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and southeastern Colorado. These are areas where fire ignition and growth could happen rapidly.
Fire weather concerns are expected to continue into Saturday, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
A critical fire weather risk – the second-highest risk category – exists across parts of eastern New Mexico and western Texas into Friday night.
Surrounding that zone, an elevated fire weather risk is in place for other parts of New Mexico, West Texas, western Oklahoma, southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.
With no rain predicted and winds forecast to remain strong, these areas are all at risk for rapidly spreading wildfires Friday. Winds may top 40 mph, and relative humidities might drop to 10 to 15%, indicative of a very dry air mass.
"Previous days of dry and windy conditions with no rain will lead to further drying of the finer fuels, fostering potential for wildfire growth," NOAA's Storm Prediction Center said in reference to Friday.
Fire weather concerns may begin to subside slightly due to weaker winds by late this weekend, but the air mass will remain dry, and a few localized areas of gusty winds could still develop each afternoon. That means residents of the Southwest and Southern Plains still won't be able to let their guards down.
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