Dry, warm and breezy…


8-5-23: USDA Forest Service – San Juan National Forest “Firefighters carefully burned vegetation under and around a 1/2-mile stretch of the Tri-State transmission line, which serves the town of Pagosa Springs. Protecting critical infrastructure such as the transmission line and nearby private lands was a central strategic focus for Dry Lake.” Photo courtesy of the San Juan National Forest.

Sunday 8-6-2023. 1:15pm update.

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 86 degrees. The low this morning was 47 degrees. A few of us in the Siberian Cold Spots saw lows in the 30’s this morning. It was 37 degrees at our place about a mile north of Hatcher Lake. Winds gusted to 28mph yesterday and our humidity bottomed out at a desert-like 8% yesterday afternoon.

Precipitation summary: There was no measurable precipitation to summarize yesterday!

Pagosa Springs historical data August 6th.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
8391/ 19814632/ 1976

*** A RED FLAG warning has been issued valid on Sunday at noon to Monday at 9pm. Warm temps, low humidity, dry fuels, and gusty winds will result in critical fire conditions. ***

Red Flag
Red Flag Warning

*** A FIRE WEATHER WATCH has been issued for the same conditions to occur again Monday afternoon through Monday evening. ***

*** A FIRE WEATHER WATCH has also been issued for Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday evening. ***

360165071 1003768683986980 236043020577294790 n

*** Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect for the lower elevations of San Juan National Forest. The minimum fine for violating campfire restrictions is $530. ***

Screenshot 2023 08 06 123232
In the upper-left hand corner of the map is the Dry Lake Fire and the bottom left, the American Mesa Fire.

Here’s the latest on our two nearby fires:

The American Mesa Fire.

– 400 acres and 0% contained

– Ordered resources are beginning to arrive this morning. Overall, they include two handcrews, one hotshot crew and one engine. Already on scene are two engines, one handcrew and two helicopters.

– The priority is always firefighter and public safety while engaging on today’s efforts, which are going direct on the fire and protecting structures on private land.

– Weather continues to be hot and dry, with concerns for fire weather today and Monday. Fire activity has already picked up this morning. Expect smoke to be visible and likely pushing east.

The Dry Lake Fire:

The Dry Lake Fire is now 11 percent contained and firefighters have completed “blacklining” the control lines around the 1372-acre fire. 135 fire personnel are assigned to the fire, located on San Juan National Forest land northeast of Bayfield.  In conjunction with blacklining, interior pockets of vegetation were burned with an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), or drone. Firefighters are now patrolling the perimeter and no further growth is expected. Continued burning and smoldering of interior vegetation will continue, though fire activity and smoke production will decrease. This evening, smoke may settle between Bayfield and Chimney Rock in the Highway 160 corridor, and into the Piedra River drainage toward Arboles.

Screenshot 2023 08 06 122655
Dry air in the mid-levels (shown in yellow) as well as the surface is a bad combo for seeing any chance for rain!

Forecast discussion…

As the headline suggests, there isn’t much to discuss other than above normal temperatures, dry weather and breezy conditions. The subtropical high (Hell High) is located to our south, choking off any monsoonal moisture. Later in the week, the high pressure will move slightly east, allowing a tiny bit of moisture to funnel into our area from the SW. Unfortunately, it may only be enough to trigger some afternoon lightning storms with very little if any, precipitation. This could actually do us more harm than good as seen with our recent fires in the area.

Screenshot 2023 08 06 125519
The latest GFS model is only predicting 0.03 inches of rain for Pagosa Springs and 0.06 inches for Chama, NM. from today through the 22nd of August!

5-Day Forecast…

The rest of the day: Mostly sunny, some smoke, breezy and warm. Highs in the mid to upper 80’s. Winds SW 15-20, with gusts to 30mph.

Monday: Mostly sunny, some smoke, breezy and warm. Lows in the 40’s and highs in the mid to upper 80’s. Winds SW 15-20, with gusts to 30mph.

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a tiny chance for afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the 40’s and highs in the low to mid 80’s. Winds SW 15-25mph, with gusts to 40mph.

Wednesday-Friday: Partly cloudy with a tiny chance for afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the 40’s and highs in the low to mid 80’s. Winds SW 10-15, with gusts to 25mph.

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam (myearthcam.com) for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

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