Ample sunshine throughout Garfield County this weekend, but high heat increases need for caution | PostIndependent.com
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Ample sunshine throughout Garfield County this weekend, but high heat increases need for caution

Ike Fredregill
Post Independent
Robert Hall of New Castle enjoys the cool morning temperatures of Meadow Creek Lake located in the White River Forest near the edge of Garfield County Thursday. Hall and his brother-in-law Gene Pharaoh of Grand Island, Nebraska took advantage of the near empty lake to cast a few lines.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent
What are stage 1 fire restrictions? Stage One fire restrictions are in place on all lands managed by the White River National Forest, local BLM lands and unincorporated Garfield County. Stage One restrictions include: — Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds — No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas — No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation — No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets — No welding or operating open-flame torches except in areas that cleared of vegetation — No operation of internal combustion engines without functional spark arrestors installed

A severe hot and dry spell could put people spending an extended amount of time outdoors at risk this weekend, but with proper planning, fun can still be had by all.

“We have a ridge of high pressure moving into the Four Corners area, making for some extremely warm and dry conditions in Glenwood Springs,” said Erin Walter, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “Temperatures could potentially exceed 100 degrees this weekend and will remain high into next week.”

Because of the heat, the NWS is advising people to be cautious about spending too much time in the sun during the next few days.

Locals looking to get away from this weekends triple digit temperatures might find places like Meadow Creek Lake a nice stopping point.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

But the dog days of summer are still bursting with recreational opportunities ranging from fishing to floating, said Lisa Langer, Glenwood Springs Tourism director.

“Of course, one of the best ways to cool off this weekend is to stop in for a drink or a treat at one our many wonderful establishments,” Langer said. “And, water sports would be really ideal. Rafting and kayaking are great, and paddle boarding is a fun way to just lay back and relax, so long as you’re not on the river.”

A guide to renting water sports equipment and guided fishing tours is located in the Glenwood Springs Travel Guide, which can be downloaded free at http://www.visitglenwood.com.

For those wanting to avoid the waterways, Langer said a well-planned hiking or biking trip would be possible so long as people head out early.

“Mitchell Creek is a great path that’s very well shaded,” she said. “Grizzly Creek is another good one, but people will have to contend with construction on Interstate 70.”

Drinking plenty of water and applying sunscreen will be essential to avoiding the worst of the heat, but people should also avoid overexerting themselves this weekend.

“Stay out of the hot sun, and I wouldn’t do a south-facing hike like Storm King Trail,” Langer said. “I wouldn’t suggest biking the Rio Grande Trail in the heat of the day, but the Glenwood Canyon Path would not be as directly in the sun.”

Walter said a low chance of moisture through Sunday decreases the risk of wildfires started by thunderstorms, but fire danger will still be high because of the potential for human-caused fires.

Given the fire danger, White River National Forest officials are urging people to be especially cautious with their ignition sources this weekend.

“The forest is drying, and the hot and dry conditions forecast over the next few weeks mean no relief is in sight,” White River Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in a news release. “We often see monsoonal moisture by now to take the edge off, but fire danger will continue to increase.” 

Stage One fire restrictions are in place on all lands managed by the White River National Forest, the release stated. Stage One fire restrictions are also in place on local BLM lands and unincorporated Garfield County.

Although temperatures could marginally cool off later next week, Walter said the NWS climate models are predicting abnormally warm and dry conditions through September.

On the upside, the nights will remain cool.

“With these very dry conditions, the temperatures tend to drop really quickly as soon as the sun goes down,” Walter explained. “We’re looking at low nighttime temperatures around the 50s this weekend.”

ifredregill@postindependent.com


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