SPM 09-27-2020: Windy Conditions and High Fire Danger

Issue Date: Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Issue Time: 9:40AM MDT


The main concern on Saturday was increasing fire danger, both in intensity and coverage with winds really picking up as the jet stream moved overhead. Gusts near the Cameron Peak fire reached around 45 mph during the late afternoon. Paired with dry, warm conditions, the fire unfortunately grew about 13K acres yesterday, which caused a lot of additional smoke. This is now the 3rd largest fire in Colorado history. The Middle Fork fire was also dealing with 30+ mph gusts, so it grew about 700 acres, and a gust of 49 mph was reported near Steamboat in Routt County at 5:30PM. Even the Williams Fork fire grew slightly. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like containment went down at all for any of the fires. Over the Central Mountains, gusts reached into the mid-40s (mph). As of this morning, no new fires were reported.

During the evening hours, a cold front moved through and shifted the wind from the north. This caused heavy smoke to roll into the Urban Corridor and Front Range foothills. However, the northerly winds helped clear out the near surface smoke over western Colorado (north) and the eastern plains. It was too dry for any rainfall yesterday, but some very light showers were generated this morning over the northeast corner of the state. Total rainfall estimated from radar look to be under 0.10 inches.

Large ongoing Colorado wildfires update (as of 9:20AM from InciWeb):
Cameron Peak in the Medicine Bow Mountains: 124,021 acres (~13K acre growth); 25% contained
Middle Fork Fire in Routt County: 7,499 acres (~700 acre growth); 0% containment
Williams Fork in the Arapaho National Forest: 12,850 acres (~400 acre growth); 14% contained

To see precipitation estimates over your neighborhood the last 24-hours, scroll down to the State Precipitation Map below. Note that the map below is nearly blank due to the lack of rainfall over the last 72-hours, and the QPE over the eastern border is an error.

Click Here For Map Overview

The map below shows radar-estimated, rainfall gage-adjusted Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE) across Colorado. The map is updated daily during the operational season (May 1 – Sep 30) by 11AM. The following six layers are currently available: 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour total precipitation, as well as maximum 1-hour, 2-hour and 6-hour precipitation over the past 24 hour period (to estimate where flash flooding may have occurred). The 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour total precipitation contain bias corrections that are not disaggregated into the hourly estimates, so there will likely be some differences. The accumulation ending time is 7AM of the date shown in the bottom right corner. Also shown optionally are vulnerable fire burn areas (post 2012), which are updated throughout the season to include new, vulnerable burn areas. The home button in the top left corner resets the map to the original zoom.