Wildfire haze blowing into Steamboat; cooler temperatures forecast this weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs residents woke Friday to hazy skies, a sign of multiple wildfires burning across the West.
According to the National Weather Service, the haze is likely blowing into northwest Colorado from a trio of wildfires burning across Utah, including the Trail Mountain Fire, which has burned about 18,000 acres in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in central Utah. The fire started as a prescribed burn that got out of control when high winds moved into the area.
Northeast of Steamboat, the Badger Creek Fire near the state line in southern Wyoming escaped containment lines Thursday, when strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity hampered firefighting efforts. Preliminary investigations indicate the fire was human caused, according to the incident overview.
Across Colorado, new wildfires are igniting almost daily. While most of the fires have been quickly extinguished, the Sugarloaf Fire 13 miles southwest of Fraser grew to 300 acres Thursday. That fire is burning in Arapahoe National Forest, where firefighters are monitoring, rather than fighting, the blaze.
Here in Steamboat, Stage 1 fire restrictions took effect Friday and the area is under a red flag warning until 9 p.m. The warning, issued by the Weather Service, indicates “critical fire weather conditions” are possible.
Summer has been off to a hot start, with Thursday’s preliminary high temperature of 90 matching a record set in 1909. On Wednesday, the preliminary high of 91 fell short of the 92-degree record for the date, also set in 1909.
Steamboat will get some relief from the heat this weekend, when a “dry cold front” moves through the area, according to Megan Stackhouse, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“We’re not expecting any sort of precipitation out of it, unfortunately — maybe some increasing clouds,” Stackhouse said.
A high of 82 is forecast Friday, and the front should drop temperatures another 5 to 10 degrees this weekend with Sunday’s forecast high in the low 70s.
“We’re going to warm back up into the mid-80s by early next week,” she said.
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