In spite of some needed rainfall last week, we find ourselves kicking off this week with another combination of conditions that pose a hazard for outdoor fires to start easily or spread rapidly, and for the second time in less than two weeks the National Weather Service has placed most of our viewing area under a Red Flag Warning through 9 pm. As we head through the day, potential brush, grass and forest fire fuels will continue to dry out, temperatures will warm into the upper 50s and low 60s, and west to southwest winds will run about 10-15 mph with some gusts to between 20 and 30 mph.
We will see a dry cold front move through the region from the northwest this evening and overnight. That will likely bring few if any clouds to the area, but will leave us cooler on Tuesday, and will shift our winds around to the north and northwest. It's likely they will not be as gusty on Tuesday, and when combined with lower temperatures, a repeat of the Red Flag conditions is not expected. However, a wave of low pressure to our north will probably push that frontal boundary right back across the state as a warm front Wednesday, and we'll end up warming into the 60s, with gusty southwest winds and low humidity yet again, so another round of Red Flag warnings or perhaps the next step down, a Fire Weather Watch, may be in store once again.
As it appears now, there will be yet another push of colder air into the region for Thursday into Friday, so the fire potential should decrease somewhat again, although we appear likely to remain precipitation-free through that stretch. For more information on the criteria that lead to Red Flag Warnings, see the recent blog entry at