Continued hot temperatures, parching winds and tinder-dry forests and rangelands combined to put huge swaths of Utah under a "Red Flag" wildfire warning extending into late Thursday night.
From eastern Utah’s Uintas through Green River and Moab to Bluff in the southeast, as well as southwestern and southcentral Utah, the National Weather Service warned that the risk for rapidly spreading, explosive wildfires was extreme through 11 p.m. Thursday.
With gusts of 55 mph expected in some high desert locals, with steady winds of 20-30 mph, forecasters also put southcentral Utah’s San Rafael Swell and the Glen Canyon and Lake Powell areas under a Wind Advisory through 10 p.m. Thursday.
The forecast was markedly milder for northern Utah, where temperatures Thursday were pegged at the low-80s and winds in the 10-20 mph range. The Wasatch Front even looked for a slight chance of thunderstorms and rain late in the day, increasing to a 50 percent chance on Friday, when highs were to dip into the upper-70s.
Southern Utah was expecting highs in the mid-80s both Thursday and Friday, with increasing chances for rain and thunderstorms by early Friday morning.
The Utah Division of Air Quality gave "yellow," or compromised air quality grades heading toward the weekend. Only Duchesne, Uintah and Carbon counties got "green," or healthy ratings.
The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website listed mold at "high" and grass at "moderate" for allergen levels.
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