Winds, warmth bring ‘Red Flag’ fire warning for much of Eagle County |

Winds, warmth bring ‘Red Flag’ fire warning for much of Eagle County

What’s a ‘Red Flag’ warning?

These warnings are issued by the National Weather Service as a caution that conditions are ripe for wildland fires.

EAGLE COUNTY — The National Weather Service Monday issued a “Red Flag” warning for all of Eagle County below 7,500 feet.

The warning means that conditions exist for wildland fires to start. In the case of this week’s weather, with strong winds in the forecast, those fires could also spread quickly.

The warning forecast only lasted through 7 p.m. Monday. But winds of 25 mph to 35 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph, are forecast for the next several days. Monday’s relative humidity of just 7 percent to 12 percent is also expected to persist over the next several days.

While the weather service issues Red Flag warnings, it’s up to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to impose fire restrictions. As of Monday, no further restrictions were in place.

“Things look pretty green right now,” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Amber Barrett said, adding that the warning is geared more toward the winds right now.

Those winds can quickly whip a relatively minor fire into a major blaze.

In northwest Colorado, the Craig Daily Press reported Monday that a fire in that area had grown to roughly 2,000 acres and forced officials to close a stretch of U.S. Highway 40 between Dinosaur and Skull Creek in western Moffat County near the Utah border.

Officials also ordered an evacuation of the small community of Blue Mountain and closed a Rio Blanco county road that links Rangely to U.S. Highway 40.

That fire started on Bureau of Land Management property Sunday and was reported at just 40 acres that evening.

While there are no current fire restrictions in Eagle County, fire officials from around the region meet via phone every week this time of year. Those meetings determine whether or not further restrictions are needed.

In the meantime, officials are asking everyone to be careful with fire.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, or @scottnmiller.

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