Wed April 20, 2011
New Mexico Continues To Face Critical Fire Weather Conditions
By Sarah Gustavus
Albuquerque, NM – Temperatures are warming up in New Mexico but monsoon rains are still far away, and that means conditions are ripe for more wildfires.
Many parts of the state are facing drought conditions. The rainfall in Albuquerque so far this year is about one and three quarters inches below the average.
Brent Wachter is a fire weather forecaster with the National Weather Service. He says people should pay attention to red flag warnings, which warn that fires could easily be started on accident.
Forecasters issue those when they see higher winds, rising temperatures and a drop in humidity. "It's usually 15% or less. When you start to get into the single digits, that's when your skin starts to crack a little bit and you definitely feel that those are the kind of conditions that fire managers are most worried about," said Wachter.
Wachter says monsoon rains will help ease drought conditions, but those probably won't start until June.
He says even more red flag warnings are expected this month and through May.