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Strong winds will keep fire danger high Tuesday

Winds may increase this afternoon before a strong cold front brings much better firefighting weather later Tuesday.

ESTES PARK, Colo. — The Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park prompted evacuations and could spread further later today, thanks to strong winds that could gust in excess of 50 mph in the affected area Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

It's not just the Estes Park area that's feeling and experiencing the strong winds and high fire danger in Colorado today, though. Much of the state, including Denver and Colorado Springs, is under a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger through 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Strong downsloping (warming) winds continue to keep Colorado warm, dry and exceptionally windy. Gusts could top 60 or even 70 mph in some typically windier locations along the foothills. Unfortunately, those stronger gusts could include the area around the Kruger Rock Fire. 

While winds across much of the rest of eastern Colorado will likely be in the 30-40 mph range through much of the day, it's the exceptionally warm and dry air mass that'll keep fire danger high, especially in the red-shaded areas below.

Credit: KUSA

Perhaps slightly ironically, the area of the Kruger Park Fire is not under a Red Flag Warning, though much of the I-25 urban corridor is.

Red Flag Warnings are issued to highlight areas of increased fire danger. Warm temperatures, gusty winds and low relative humidity (a dry air mass) are the main three indicators of higher fire danger.

RELATED: Thousands of new homes in Colorado in imminent danger as wildfire protection plans languish

The good news: Winds should back off significantly tonight following the passage of a strong cold front. That'll taper winds down through the overnight hours, and it'll also usher in much colder air along with a more humid air mass as well. 

That should significantly help firefighters battling the blaze tomorrow.

RELATED: A look at fire danger levels and what they mean

So in short, today's weather doesn't look good at all for fighting the Kruger Park Fire, but conditions will improve dramatically later on tonight. 

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