STERLING - The National Weather Service office in Denver is strongly discouraging outdoor burning, or any outdoor activity that may produce a spark and cause wildfire, during a red flag warning for northeast Colorado Thursday.

Southwest winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, are forecast for the warned area. The region will have low relative humidity around eight percent. 

The NWS says any fires that do start will have the potential to spread rapidly.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

The elevated fire risk will remain in place through at least Thursday. A fire weather watch is already in place for the same area for Thursday.

The strong and gusty winds will produce areas of blowing dust, and transport smoke from out-of-state wildfires, on Wednesday. The weather service issued an air quality alert for northeast Colorado on Wednesday.