• ITVI.USA
    15,033.570
    -36.610
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    24.380
    0.040
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,017.490
    -33.390
    -0.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.350
    0.280
    9.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.090
    0.230
    8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.730
    0.070
    4.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.100
    0.150
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.160
    0.120
    5.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.570
    0.220
    6.6%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,033.570
    -36.610
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    24.380
    0.040
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,017.490
    -33.390
    -0.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.350
    0.280
    9.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.090
    0.230
    8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.730
    0.070
    4.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.100
    0.150
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.160
    0.120
    5.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.570
    0.220
    6.6%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Fire weather danger still scorching Southwest

Extreme drought, very dry air, gusty winds creating elevated risk

The threat for wildfires keeps blazing across the Southwest as the ground remains parched.

Much of the region, including the Mojave Desert, has been under “extreme” or “exceptional” drought for several months. These are the worst two categories issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, and fires of different sizes continue to burn.

Many of the fires have been contained. But the drought, combined with very dry air and gusty winds, will make it easy for new fires to start over the next few days. Also, new and existing fires could spread out of control because of the wind.

The National Weather Service has posted red flag warnings for southern Nevada (including Las Vegas), southeastern California, southern Utah and northwestern Arizona. These places could see the strongest winds, with gusts exceeding 50 mph at times. Relative humidity will be very low, at 15% or less in most areas.


Related: Grass fire smoke shuts down North Dakota highway


Fire weather watches have been posted for the rest of northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. These areas, also in a drought, may be prone to strong winds and an elevated fire risk this week.

If fires get too close to highways, there’s potential for closures, and smoke could reduce visibility for drivers. This would impact sections of Interstates 15 and 40, in addition to major U.S. highways in the region, such as 89, 93, 95, 160, 491 and 550.

Truckers can do their part in preventing fires by not parking in grassy areas, and by not dragging chains that could send sparks into grassy/wooded areas.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his nearly 20 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.

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