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Strong winds bring back trauma of fire danger in Boulder

Red Flag Warnings were issued around the state Tuesday as strong winds mixed with dry weather.

BOULDER, Colo. — You don’t have to hike far to see the scars in Boulder County.

"It’s some kind of anxiety that builds up every time it’s windy," said Kinda, a hiker in Boulder. "When it’s windy, I just think back to when I had to evacuate."

There are scars on the hillside and in the memories of the people who know the impact fire and wind can have when they mix together.

Strong wind across Colorado is leaving communities on high alert as fire danger increases. The winds are expected to continue for the next several days, with Red Flag Warnings issued around the state.

RELATED: Strong winds, high fire danger continue overnight and Wednesday

"I remember the sirens, the police coming through the apartment complex, telling us to get out," said Kinda, who had to evacuate during the Marshall Fire in December. "The wind, the smoke smell, it brings back memories every time."

Less than two weeks ago, rangers with Boulder Open Space raced to evacuate people from the NCAR Fire. Tuesday, they were out warning hikers to not start fires and to be aware of smoke.

"Certainly when we get conditions like this, we all get a little more nervous. We get a little more tense. I think everyone does," said Phillip Yates with the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. "When I see the wind whip like this, it’s an important reason why we need to deliver those communications."

The City of Boulder put out extensive warnings before this week’s wind event. They're warnings that come from the knowledge of what can happen with just one spark.

"We’re now living in a different context than we probably were even three or four years ago," Yates said. "Fire season is occurring likely throughout the year. We just had a pretty significant fire a week ago."

Boulder has seen an increase in people coming out to use hiking trails and public land, especially during the pandemic. That creates an even bigger concern that someone can unintentionally start a fire, and an even bigger reason to remind everyone to be careful.

RELATED: Marshall Fire survivors share their journeys toward recovery

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