Nearly 30 counties in Colorado, including El Paso, are under fire restrictions after weeks of high temperatures and little rain.
Most counties are in the central and southern part of the state and include Teller and Fremont, the Colorado Department of Public Safety reported.
Under the ban, residents are prohibited from open burning, except for inside permanent fire grates and in charcoal grills and wood-burning stoves where the area has been cleared of flammable materials.
Fireworks and smoking outside — except in a car, building or recreations site cleared of flammable materials within a 3-foot diameter — also are banned.
Dry conditions and low relative humidity were conducive for burning, Kathy Torgerson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Tuesday. “But we don’t have the winds to help fan the flames today so that’s good.”
A red flag warning will likely be issued this week as temperatures rise and winds increase, she said. Those warnings are issued when there is relative humidity of 15% or lower and sustained wind speeds of 25 mph or more, for three hours or longer, she said.
The National Weather Service predicts a high of 74 in Colorado Springs on Wednesday and 80 on Thursday. Wind gusts around 5 mph Wednesday could reach 10 mph by Thursday.
Cooler weather, with highs in the 50s and 60s and lows in the mid-30s, will likely arrive as a cold front moves through the area this weekend. Some precipitation, expected Thursday night along the Palmer Divide, could help reduce fire danger, Torgerson said. However, the state could remain at risk for fires for the foreseeable future with little chance of significant rainfall or snow.
Colorado Springs this year had recorded 9.82 inches of precipitation as of Tuesday, falling short of the year-to-date average of 15.37 inches.
Torgerson said she doesn’t expect significant precipitation in the next seven to 10 days.
“What we need is a really good snow,” she said.
Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 74. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming south southeast in the afternoon.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. West northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 69. West wind 10 to 15 mph.