Wildfires that began on Tuesday are rapidly spreading through parts of Colorado, and the weather won't help firefighters efforts for the remainder of this week.
The most dangerous fire in terms of the threat to populated areas is the Black Forest Fire located to the north and east of Colorado Springs.
According to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, "The unincorporated community of Black Forest is a commuter town for the city of Colorado Springs and for the Air Force Academy."
The Colorado Office of Emergency Management reports that an estimated 8,000 acres have already been burned by the Black Forest fire and the El Paso County Sheriff estimates that as many as 100 homes may have been damaged or destroyed.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, a 55-square-mile area around the fire has been evacuated. For additional information on evacuation and pre-evacuation zones, click over to evacuation map courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette and the El Paso County Sheriff.
Firefighters have been working through the night on fighting the fire and protecting homes in its path; however, the weather is not expected to help the cause in the near term.
Relative humidity values only rose to around 23 percent Tuesday night as a very dry air mass remained in place over Colorado. As temperatures soar into the middle 90s the next few afternoons, humidity values will fall below 10 percent across much of region leading to continuing dangerous conditions.
Not only will the humidity values remain low through Friday, but also winds will gust to between 30 and 40 mph during the late morning and afternoon hours which can lead to rapid spreading of ongoing fires.
A second fire to the south and west of Colorado Springs in the Royal Gorge area has grown to nearly 3,800 acres in the last 24 hours, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
This fire is located within the Royal Gorge Park, which is a large tourist area according to Meteorologist Jim Andrews. Unlike the Black Forest fire, this one threatens much less in the way of structures, though it has forced the evacuation of the park and the Royal Gorge Bridge.
Two of the other fires in the state, one east of Alamosa, Colo., and one in Rocky Mountain National Park, are not nearly as big as the Black Forest or Royal Gorge fire. However, as stated above, conditions are ripe for additional fire development through the end of the week.
AccuWeather.com Western Expert Ken Clark states that some slight relief is expected this weekend. Clark says, "It won't be quite as hot but it will still be warm with highs in the 80s and low relative humidity values. While firefighting conditions are not going to be as bad as the next few days, they certainly won't be good by any means."