SIDNEY - Critical fire weather conditions are likely this week due to strong west to northwest winds, warm temperatures and low humidity. 

A red flag warning is in effect Monday for the southern Nebraska panhandle, central Nebraska, northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming. However, warm temperatures, periodic gusty winds and low humidity will maintain elevated to near critical fire weather conditions through Saturday.

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. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended, according to the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne.

Smoke from wildfires in Wyoming and Colorado is expected to degrade the air quality in southeast Wyoming and the southern Nebraska panhandle Sunday evening through Monday morning. Visibility could be reduced. 

The NWS recommends the elderly, young children and individuals with respiratory problems avoid excessive physical exertion and minimize outdoor activities during this time.