Fox News Weather Center

Gusty Winds to Elevate Wildfire Danger From Arizona to North Dakota

Warmth, gusty winds and low humidity will fuel an expansive wildfire threat from the Southwest to the northern Plains on Tuesday.

The highest risk will be across western Colorado, central Wyoming, northwestern Nebraska and the Dakotas. Cities in this threat include Grand Junction, Colorado; Casper, Wyoming; and Rapid City, South Dakota.

Southerly and westerly winds will average 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph in the high risk area; low humidity and very warm air will accompany the winds.

"The strong winds coupled with relative humidity values less than 15 percent are a recipe for rapidly spreading wildfires," said Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Residents and campers in the threat area should avoid campfires as any escaping embers could quickly become responsible for sparking a wildfire.

This would also be a good time to post fire emergency phone numbers in the house, report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire and talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety.

Away from these areas, the threat will extend southwest toward Las Vegas.

"Portions of the southern Rockies, southwest into Nevada and Arizona are also in a moderate to severe drought which will factor into the threat," said Anderson.

So far this year, the number of wildfires across the United States is below average.

As of April 12, there have been 11,526 wildfires and 263,118 acres burned, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. The past 10-year average through this date is 16,106 wildfires and 583,257 acres burned.

A vigorous storm moving into Montana on Tuesday will be responsible for the widespread gusty winds. By Wednesday, the wildfire risk will diminish significantly as cooler, damp and less windy weather settles into the region.