Near-record heat, combined with dry and windy conditions, will set the stage for a high fire threat in the central and southern Plains into Thursday night.
“Strong, gusty winds combined with low humidity will result in a high fire threat across the central and southern Plains,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
The corridor of greatest concern for high fire danger includes southwestern Nebraska, the Colorado Front Range, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on March 9, widespread moderate to severe drought conditions are affecting this corridor, with an isolated pocket of extreme drought over the Oklahoma Panhandle.
“Conditions are very dry with places like Pueblo, Colorado, and Clovis and Carlsbad, New Mexico, having received no precipitation at all so far this month,” Adamson said.
Winds can gust up to 30 mph with unseasonably high daytime temperatures in the upper 70s to upper 80s F on Thursday.
Any fires that may ignite have the potential to spread rapidly due to the blustery conditions.
The heat could reach record levels in some areas, including Carlsbad, Clovis and Roswell, New Mexico; Lubbock, Texas; and Pueblo, Colorado.
Some records in jeopardy have held since the 1900s.
Residents should take extra precautions to avoid unintentionally igniting a spark that can rapidly develop into a raging wildfire in the abnormally dry and warm conditions.
People should avoid outdoor burning and parking cars over tall, dry brush. Matches and cigarettes should be properly extinguished.
While dry weather will continue into Friday and the weekend, winds will weaken which will greatly reduce the fire threat, according to Adamson.
The central and southern Plains may not receive any significant rainfall until the middle and latter half of next week, when there could be a heightened risk of severe weather.