Significant wildfire outbreak likely across southern High Plains on Tuesday
Extreme risk of fires exists across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, as well as southwestern Kansas
A dangerous situation is expected to unfold across portions of the southern High Plains on Tuesday, as strong winds and low relative humidity have led to an extremely critical risk of fires across the region.
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NOAA's Storm Prediction Center says the fire weather outlook is extreme for the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and southwestern Kansas, but the critical risk extends as far south as West Texas, including the cities of Lubbock, Midland and Van Horn.
The risk also extends to the north across Interstate 80 into Nebraska.
"It really doesn’t take a whole lot for these fires to start," said Juan Rodriguez, of the Texas A&M Forest Service. "But our agency, Texas A&M Forest Service, is working hard to combat these fires and we’re working with all of our local cooperators. We’ll continue to keep fighting these fires the way we have been."
HOW THE LAY OF THE LAND AFFECTS WILDFIRE BEHAVIOR
Tuesday will remain very dry across the region, with many areas seeing relative humidity levels dipping into the single digits.
The humidity in Odessa and Lubbock, Texas, will stay below 10% during the day into the afternoon, and those levels will stretch farther north into the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and Kansas.
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In addition to the dry conditions, winds will also be an issue and help spread any fires if they are to ignite.
Winds will be strong across West Texas, stretching into Oklahoma. El Paso, Texas, will see winds on Tuesday between 20 and 30 mph.
And while winds will remain strong across the Plains, wind gusts will be stronger.
The National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kansas, says winds could gust up to 65 mph at times, adding to the dangerous fire weather conditions on Tuesday. Gusts could be even higher across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.
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High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories have been issued due to the strong winds forecast for the region on Tuesday.
The High Wind Warnings encompass an area that stretches from Kansas across the panhandles into southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.
Wind Advisories are in effect for Kansas and Oklahoma, and those stretch south through Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas.
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Nearly 10 million Americans from Nebraska through Texas to the Mexico border are now under a Fire Weather Warning that lasts throughout the day.
People living, working or traveling through those areas are asked to refrain from doing any activities that could start a fire.