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Fire Threats Escalate to Start the First Full Week of October

October 5th 2020
The NWS has issued Red Flag Warnings for the southern half of Wyoming until 7:00 PM tonight due to strong winds expected across the region.
The NWS has issued Red Flag Warnings for the southern half of Wyoming until 7:00 PM tonight due to strong winds expected across the region.(KGWN)
Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 12:42 PM CDT
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Waking up this morning in Southeast Wyoming one could likely smell burning, especially if they stepped outside. The Mullen Fire is now over 150,000 acres in size, and with strong winds expected this afternoon, more growth is likely coming. However, the wind direction will make a shift this afternoon, and that should hopefully reduce the stench of burning in the air. The strong winds have prompted the National Weather Service to issue Red Flag Warnings for Southern Wyoming until 7:00 PM MDT tonight. The Storm Prediction Center has also issued a Level 2 “Critical" Risk for wildfires in Southeastern Wyoming with a Level 1 “Elevated” Risk for the rest of the southern half of the state.

Strong winds in the southeastern portion of Wyoming Monday afternoon have prompted the SPC to issue a Level 2 Critical wildfire risk for the region.
Strong winds in the southeastern portion of Wyoming Monday afternoon have prompted the SPC to issue a Level 2 Critical wildfire risk for the region.(KGWN)

Wind speeds in SE Wyoming this afternoon are expected to be between 20 and 25 mph sustained with gusts over 40 mph. That will most certainly help the Mullen Fire continue to grow as well as raise the risk elsewhere. Throughout the day the winds will shift from the west to more of a northerly flow, and that will blow smoke southward towards Colorado. The quicker that shift in direction occurs, the quicker the smell of burning wood may leave cities such as Cheyenne. Laramie will likely continue to smell it for longer due to its proximity to the growing blaze.

Throughout this week temperatures will remain well above average, which will fuel a fire threat in itself. However, the winds are not expected to be this breezy all week, so the threats for new fires should not remain as high as they are for today. Also, its looking like there could be rain chances returning to Wyoming next weekend. It is a bit far out right now, but weather models seem to agree on a system moving into Wyoming on Sunday bringing widespread rain and cooling temperatures to the lower 60s/upper 50s as the next week begins. Widespread rain would be extremely beneficial to Wyoming to help with not only the wildfire threats, but also to relieve some of the continually worsening drought conditions.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

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