The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning — an indication of fire danger — through Tuesday afternoon due to concerns about the potential for high winds and dry conditions setting off wildfires in some parts of the state.

"If a fire does start, it will spread rapidly," said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Overpeck during an online media briefing Monday. "You don't want to do any outdoor burning."

The portion of the state most in danger is the east-central plains area, pushing up against the Sandia and Manzano mountains outside Albuquerque. Winds could reach into the 40-45 mph range, Overpeck said.

Continuing drought conditions, combined with a lack of moisture since late September, have set the dry stage for a possible fire outbreak, he said.

A cold front will hit the state Wednesday and Thursday, bringing freezing temperatures by Thursday morning. Temperatures in the Santa Fe area will probably not rise above the mid-50s that day, but they will edge up to the high 50s and low 60s over the weekend. 

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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