Low snowpack. Very little precipitation. Red flag warnings.
This combination puts many locals on edge. It’s a combination that brings back memories of Missionary Ridge, Little Sand and the West Fork Complex fires.
Southwest Colorado experienced several red flag warnings last week and earlier this week. According to Accuweather, a red flag warning goes into effect when critical fire weather conditions are either occurring, or will shortly. The combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
On Tuesday of this week, the humidity for our region was listed at 9 to 14 percent.
On Sunday, June 9, 2002, the temperature was 86 degrees and humidity was 12 percent when a spark of unknown origin fell on the lower Missionary Ridge Road north of Durango. Thirty-nine days later, 46 homes and cabins were destroyed and nearly 73,000 acres were scorched by the fire.
Ten years later, on May 13, 2012, a lightning strike ignited a fire in the Piedra area northwest of Pagosa Springs.