The High Park Fire burns west of Fort Collins as seen from I-25 just south of the Wyoming border near Cheyenne late Friday, 22 June 2012. Aaron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post

23 June 2012 (The Denver Post) – Denver's record-breaking heat Friday sets the stage for a potentially hotter day today, warns the National Weather Service.

The city beat the record of 98 degrees just after 1 p.m., then climbed to 102 degrees before 4 p.m. Friday, eclipsing the high mark for June 22 set in 1874.

Today's high in Denver is forecast to be 102 degrees, which would tie the record for the date set in 1954.

The searing heat should continue into Sunday, with a forecast high of 98 degrees, and remain in the mid-90s through the next workweek, forecasters say.

With the high heat, single-digit humidities and gusty winds across much of the state, a critical "red flag" fire danger warning started Friday at noon, which lasts until 8 p.m. today. Officials characterize the risk for wildfires as "extremely high."

The official city monitor site at Denver International Airport hit 100 degrees and set a record Monday, as well. The normal daily highs for this time of year are in the mid-80s, but so far this month daily temperatures have averaged nearly 6 degrees warmer than the 30-year average.

Although the heat seems unusual, it's somewhat normal, but framed by months of extremely hot and extremely dry months, it seems worse, said National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Cooper.

The Rockies tend to heat up and dry out before the summer monsoon season from mid-July to mid-August.And some of it has just been tough meteorological luck, he said.

"We've just been on the wrong side of these storm tracks," Cooper said.

Nearly all of Colorado is in a drought, after a weak snowpack in the mountains followed by an abnormally warm and dry spring.

Denver poised for more record heat Saturday as fire danger soars

KUSA, 23 Jun 2012 (KUSA-TV) – As of 4 p.m. Monday, DIA reported a high of 102 degrees; a record for the date. The old record was 98 degrees set in 1874. The average high Friday was 85 degrees.

High pressure settled over the region has pushed the storm track north of the area. This means several days of mostly sunny skies, gusty winds and low relative humidity values. Because of this, RED FLAG WARNINGS for high fire danger have been issued for this weekend.

Fire danger will remain high, at least over northwest Colorado, through Saturday. A RED FLAG WARNING will continue for areas near Steamboat Springs, Craig, Meeker and the western slope until 8 p.m. Saturday.

Temperatures along the Front Range will not be dropping anytime soon either. The record high for Saturday is 102 degrees set in 1954, but there is a big chance we could tie that temperature or break it by 3 pm. The triple digit temperatures will continue through Sunday and then remain hot for the rest of the week in the 90s with the next chance for storms until Tuesday.

Colorado weather forecast: Record heat, critical fire danger concerns Friday

By Keith Coffman
20 June 2012

DENVER (Reuters) – A deadly, stubborn wildfire that ranks as the most destructive on record for Colorado has scorched more than 100 square miles (259 square km) of rugged mountain terrain northwest of Denver, but a cool snap on Wednesday gave fire crews a chance to take the offensive.

The so-called High Park Fire already is blamed for one death and has consumed 189 homes in the 12 days since it was ignited by lightning at the edge of the Roosevelt National Forest, and authorities say they expect property losses to climb once more damage assessments are made.

As of Wednesday, an estimated 1,000 homes remained evacuated on the western outskirts of Fort Collins, a city of more 140,000 people that lies adjacent to the national forest about 55 miles north of Denver, according to Larimer County Sheriff's spokesman John Schulz.

The only casualty reported from the fire so far was a 62-year-old grandmother whose body was found last week in the ashes of a cabin where she lived alone. She was the fourth person to die in a Colorado wildfire this year.

The High Park blaze grew in size by several thousand acres overnight and early Wednesday, extending to almost 66,000 acres, or nearly 103 square miles (266 square km). […]

The blaze was one of the biggest - and most threatening - of 16 large wildfires being fought across the country on Wednesday. Most were in seven Western states - Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Utah, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.

Although federal authorities say the fire season has gotten off to an early start this summer in parts of the Northern Rockies, the number of fires and acreage burned nationwide is still well below the 10-year average for this time of year, according to fire agency records. […]

Deadly Colorado wildfire surpasses 100-square-mile mark



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