U.S. in Crisis: Record heat, dry winds create wildfire threat for 7 states

Fire in the south-western United States, on Sunday, perhaps, some of the worst weather of the season to combat the fire now raging in the region. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and much of the northern part of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Utah on Sunday. A red flag warning means weather conditions — mainly high temperature, low humidity and strong winds — pose extreme fire danger. "The winds will certainly be very gusty and strong", said Ken Daniel, NWS meteorologist in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Any new fire, will have the potential to have explosive growth." Forecast calls for winds of 30 miles per hour or more in some areas, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, said Daniel. Currently, there are dozens of active fires burning in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to InciWeb, an online interagency database that tracks fires, floods and other natural disasters. Across the country, the fires burned almost as many acres in the first half of 2011, were recorded as the National Interagency Fire Center for all of 2010. The agency said on its website that the 3.1 million acres in the United States was caused by forest fires as of May 31, compared with 3.2 million acres burned, said the organization's annual report in November 2010. —CN-EN

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