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THURSDAY: Wildfire and Floods - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Awareness Week: Wildfire and Floods

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Colorado is no stranger to wildfires. We've had many rounds of high fire danger this season. Thankfully we haven't had any major fires over the past couple of years, but fires like Waldo Canyon and Black Forest have certainly left an impact.  

The National Weather Service releases fire weather planning forecasts twice a day. Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings may be issued in coordination with land management agencies if high fire danger is expected. A Fire Weather Watch is issued if the forecast includes gusts of 25 mph or greater and relative humidities under 15 percent for at least three hours in the next 12 to 48 hours. A Red Flag Warning is issued if those conditions are expected in the next 24 hours. 

If a Red Flag Warning is issued, conditions are ideal for fires to catch and spread quickly. This means outdoor burning and any activities that could spark a fire should be avoided. Strong winds and dry conditions are fuel for fires to grow and become dangerous rapidly.

Following a wildfire, flooding chances increase drastically for the area impacted and areas downhill and downstream. A full healthy forecast can typically handle a decent amount of rain (an inch to an inch and a half) without causing flooding concerns. However, burn scar areas left behind by forest fires can flood very easily. As little as half an inch of rain in a short period of time can cause flash flooding on some of these scars. 

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