Weather favoring the spread of wildfires will increase over California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona Tuesday into Wednesday.
A strong storm system moving onshore into the Northwest will work to kick up winds over the Southwest into the middle of the week.
While winds will not be damaging in most cases, they will be strong enough to raise the risk of spreading existing fires or to assist in the ignition of new blazes.
According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "Winds in open areas, through the canyons, passes and over the ridges will average 15-25 mph with local higher gusts Tuesday and Wednesday over the region."
Humidity levels will be the lowest and winds the strongest from interior California, eastward to Arizona and Nevada.
Somewhat higher humidity levels and spotty showers and thunderstorms may continue to assist firefighting efforts farther east in Colorado. However, there is always the risk of lightning starting new blazes.
No significant thunderstorm activity is forecast through Wednesday from western Colorado and western New Mexico to California.
Winds are forecast to throttle back later in the week in most areas.
People are urged to be extremely careful with outdoor power equipment and open flames through the middle of the week.
Avoid parking vehicles that have been running for more than a few minutes over tall grass or other dry vegetation. The exhaust system can get hot enough to cause this vegetation to ignite.
Be sure to check for local bans that prohibit the use of campfires and open flames.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists have been warning about the consequences of expanding heat and drought in the West leading to a long, extreme fire season with their May release of the Summer 2013 Forecast.
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Wildlife officials closed the popular tourist destination Three Sisters Springs early this week, after an estimated 300 manatees were seen congregating at the site for warmth.
Passengers on the latest voyage of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas faced the complete opposite of a care-free, relaxing experience after an encounter with a ferocious storm in the Atlantic.
Georgia & South Carolina (1973)
Worst snowstorm in the South in decades. As much as 15-21 inches in places.
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (1981)
Two tornadoes touched down near Mobile, AL early this morning. One struck a middle school at Bay Minnett causing injury to students and severely damaging the school gymnasium.
Indianapolis, IN (1982)
-21 degrees - all time February record.