Sign in to comment!

Fox News Weather Center

New Mexico, western Texas warned of elevated fire threat into Monday

While much of the southern Plains continues to watch for flooding and thunderstorms, areas of western Texas and eastern New Mexico will need to be on alert for high fire danger throughout the weekend and into Monday.

A storm emerging from the Colorado Rockies will skirt just north and east of the region, making it another miss in terms of rain for cities from Roswell, New Mexico, to El Paso, Texas.

Terrifying evacuation footage emerging from Fort McMurray, Canada

"Eastern New Mexico and parts of western Texas are experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliot. "Measurable rainfall has been sparse in the last few weeks and will be hard to come by through at least the start of next week."

Further aggravating the already dry conditions will be gusty winds up to 40 mph throughout the weekend. This wind will dry out any moisture still left on the ground and in the air.

"One of the major factors regarding the fire risk in New Mexico and Texas is how dry fuels are in the area. 10-hour fuels (grass and similar sized fuels) are very dry, less than four percent moisture, with 100- and 1000-hour fuels remaining dry as well," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

Relative humidity, the amount of moisture available in the air, will also be quite low, down below 15 percent, into the workweek.

"Very low relative humidity values mean fuel for the fire, like grass, brush and trees. It will be very dry and easily flammable," Elliot added.

The gusty winds will accelerate any spark that does ignite, potentially helping a small fire to grow and spread more quickly.

"The winds are especially of worry, as they could spread fire significantly before fire resources have time to coordinate an attack, making containment much more difficult," Duffey said.

Areas west of I-27 and north of I-20 in western Texas have the most favorable fire conditions, as well as south of I-40 and east of I-25 in New Mexico. In this particular region, the persistent dry weather and gusty winds into Monday will have the biggest impact.

Towards the middle of the new week, the winds across the region will lessen, decreasing the threat for critical fire weather conditions.

However, the abnormally dry conditions are expected to continue throughout the summer for New Mexico and western Texas, according to AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok.

In AccuWeather's 2016 US summer forecast, Pastelok explains that spouts of high winds and a limited amount of rain will create the probability for numerous fires.