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Red flag warning issued for Southwest Colorado

Weather favorable to the spread of wildfire expected for the coming week
A red flag warning about weather conditions conducive to the spread of fire has been issued for Southwest Colorado through 8 p.m. Sunday.

A red flag warning about dry and gusty conditions conducive to the spread of wildfire has been issued for a good portion of Southwest Colorado and the the Four Corners effective through 8 p.m. Sunday.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction expects winds from 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph and a relative humidity in the area from 6% to 11% for Sunday.

According to the red flag statement: “A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warmer temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

The red flag warning covers the southern half of La Plata County and all but the northeastern corner of Montezuma County.

Scott Stearns, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said no rain is in the forecast for the next seven to 10 days in Southwest Colorado.

June is the driest month in Southwest Colorado, and Stearns said nothing he’s seen shows this June will be any different.

Durango averages half an inch of rain in June.

It’s too early to tell if the season’s monsoons, which typically start the first week of July, will be stronger or weaker than normal.

Stearns said the first indications of the strength of the monsoon season in Southwest Colorado are typically picked up in weather observations in late June.

The weather service also has issued a hazardous weather outlook that forecasts hot, dry and windy conditions will continue to bring an elevated threat of fire-conducive conditions for much of the upcoming week.

parmijo@durangoherald.com