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.
This weekend will be one of the busiest travel weekends across the country as millions people head home from Christmas travels.
Just in time for Boxing Day and the weekend, a winter storm is set to dive into the United Kingdom and central Europe with rain and disruptive snow.
A system tracking over the Rocky Mountains will spread snow over the region and into the Plains through the remainder of the week.
While lacking across a large part of the United States on Christmas Day, arctic air is set to make a comeback during the final days of 2014.
On Christmas Day in 1776, George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River, in spite of treacherous weather, for a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.
Trenton, NJ (1776)
Washington crossed ice clogged Delaware, marched on Trenton in driving sleet/snow- storm. 24" had fallen in Virginia, but heavy snow belt veered seaward. British surprised, captured - all recrossed river.
New England (1778)
The Hessian Storm at Newport commenced 0 degrees, 18" of snow, NE gales - 50 soldiers reported frozen or lost - all of New England suffered.
Coldest Christmas ever known...minus 8 degrees in Boston. Minus 45 degrees in Lunenburg, VT