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Forecast: Mixed blessing in Utah's weekend forecast

Published June 8, 2012 10:58 am

Fire, rain • N. Utah will cool down, but winds keep wildfire danger high.
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A Pacific cold front moves into Utah on Saturday, dropping temperatures up to 15 degrees. Winds associated with the storm system, however, will also contribute to extreme wildfire danger for almost the entire state this weekend.

Highs along the Wasatch Front Saturday were expected to be in the mid-70s, down from the low-90s forecast for Friday. By Saturday afternoon, thunderstorms and rain were expected to move into the region — along with winds of 20-30 mph.

In southern Utah, Friday's forecast for high-90s were to cool less dramatically, into the low-90s. Utah's Dixie, already parched to drought-like levels, was not expected to get any rainfall relief, though — and the continuing heat, winds of 15-25 mph and dry rangelands and forests continued to make the region a tinderbox.

The National Weather Service issued a "Red Flag," or extreme wildfire danger warning for three-quarters of the state on Saturday; only a stretch of northern Utah — from Logan running south to Provo, and an island of land around Vernal — escaped the crimson banner.

Those winds and continued dry weather in southwestern Utah mean "Yellow," or compromised air quality ratings for Washington County through the weekend. The rest of the state earned "Green," or good breathability from the Utah Division of Environmental Quality.

Salt Lake City's high temperature for Saturday was pegged at 74 degrees, down sharply from 91 degrees; Ogden looked for 70 and 87, degrees; Provo 77 and 90; Logan 67 an 83; Wendover 71 and 89; Duchesne 80 and 86; Cedar City 82 and 87; St. George 94 and 98; and Moab 95 and 96.

remims@sltrib.com