Critical fire weather predicted Wednesday for parts of OK, CO, KS, and TX

Low humidity with wind gusts above 65 mph

Fire Weather Watch
Fire Weather Watch issued Dec. 13 for Wednesday Dec. 15, 2021. NWS & Google.

Critical fire weather is in the forecast Wednesday for southeast Colorado, western Kansas, and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. A Fire Weather Watch issued by the National Weather Service Monday morning predicts strong southwest winds Wednesday 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 65 and relative humidity in the low teens. Red Flag Warnings will probably be issued for Wednesday.

With the area experiencing levels of drought ranging from moderate to extreme, the fuels are dry and could be easily ignited.

Drought Monitor, Dec. 7, 2021.
Drought Monitor, Dec. 7, 2021.

Since December 7 the Energy Release Component (ERC) for the Texas panhandle has been setting new daily records for the highest ever recorded for those dates. On December 12 it was 72 while the average for this time of the year is in the low 40s. The ERC can help predict the intensity and rate of spread of a wildland fire. It is expected to remain in record-setting territory through at least December 19.

Energy Release Component for the Texas Panhandle
Energy Release Component for the Texas Panhandle, generated Dec. 13, 2021.

The Texas Forest Service has arranged for two large air tankers to be in the area to “support suppression efforts in Oklahoma and Texas as requested”. They are opening the Air Tanker base at Abilene.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.