DENVER (Reuters) – Heavy thunderstorms and widespread rains expected on Saturday in the U.S. Southwest could help douse the numerous unrelenting wildfires crews are battling in the parched region.
But they could also bring the potential for dangerous flash flooding as 1 to 3 inches (3 to 9 cm) of rain is forecast to fall in parts of the five-state region where more than 20 wildfires have left behind areas of barren earth, the National Weather Service said.
“Water can rise quickly downstream of heavy rain, even when thunderstorms and heavy rain are miles away,” the service said in an advisory. “Rock and mud slides, and high water flowing across roads, are also possible which could impact travel.”
One of the areas of particular concern is in southwestern Colorado where the largest and most threatening blaze is the 416 Fire, which has scorched nearly 33,000 acres (13,000 hectares)near the town of Durango. The fire was 20 percent contained as of Friday night, fire officials said.