National Weather Service issues critical fire warning across US south-west


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The National Weather Service has issued critical fire condition warnings across the US South West as wind gusts have been predicted to case fire-jumps across containment lines.

The warning comes as fire crews in New Mexico continue their efforts to stop growth of the country’s biggest wildfire – the result of two fires that merged to create the largest wildfire in the history of New Mexico.

The seven-week fire has burned 491 square miles of forest and rugged terrain east of Santa Fe since the beginning of April after being started by two intentionally-set blazes by authorities.

The National Weather Service has now issued a red flag warning of critical fire conditions for parts of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah with predictions of strong winds, low relative humidity and dry vegetation.

Bruno Rodriguez, the fire management team’s meteorologist, said that forecasts predict wind gusts up to 50mph, with critical fire conditions continuing into Monday, followed by more favourable weather later in the coming week.

John Chest, a fire operations manager, commented: “Imagine traveling in your car and the fire can outpace you. That’s the kind of extreme fire behavior that we’re talking about.”

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