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How uncommon are overnight Red Flag Warnings in Southern Colorado?

Rare Overnight Red Flag Warnings
Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 18, 2023

High fire danger days like today are relatively common this time of the year, but Red Flag Warnings at night...that's a different story!

Less than 1% of all Red Flag Warnings issued here in Southern Colorado occur between midnight and 4 am.

That's because at night we typically see higher relative humidity and weaker wind gusts.

Rare Overnight Red Flag Warnings
Less than 1% of all Red Flag Warnings occur between midnight and 4 am

Tonight's Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until 4 am, and will include Pueblo County, as well as parts of Huerfano and Las Animas counties.

With 50-60 mph wind gusts in the forecast, humidity values probably won't rise much above 20%. If a fire were to break out in these conditions, it could grow into an out of control blaze very quickly.

Overnight Red Flag Warning
A rare overnight Red Flag Warning has been issued for parts of Southern Colorado

As we've said before on News 5, we see more Red Flag Warnings in April than any other month of the year.

Based on the past 10 years of data from across Southern Colorado, we have seen an average of nine days with high fire danger.

So far this April, we've seen 12 days under Red Flag Warning conditions.

That's above average, but nowhere near the 22 Red Flag Warning days that we saw last April (2022).

However it must be said that it's only April 18th, so it's possible that we could climb much higher than that before the end of the month.

Dry grasses this time of the year are a big reason for a spring spike in fire season, but the drought also plays a role in fire weather.

In looking at the latest Drought Monitor, we can see that there are more areas of severe, extreme and exceptional drought in Southern Colorado than in any other part of the state.

Because of this and the aforementioned dry brush this time of the year, grass fires will remain a concern in the short term.

In the long term...if the drought persists or worsens this summer, this could become a much bigger concern.

Drought Monitor - 041323
Latest Colorado Drought Monitor, released April 13, 2023

On Red Flag Warnings days, we urge you to be extra vigilant. Avoid any outdoor burning, or use of heavy machinery that could start a spark.

Lastly, if you see smoke or fire, report that to local authorities right away.