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Critical fire weather predicted in Tx, Az

More evacuations ordered as wildfires spread across both states

COLLEGE STATION, TX (UPI) | May 9, 2011

Hot weather, low humidity, strong winds and dry conditions could worsen the fire situation from Arizona to Texas, firefighting officials said.

"Beginning today ... and lasting through Wednesday ... critical fire weather conditions are expected to be widespread across an area west of a line from Wichita Falls to Abilene to San Angelo to Del Rio," the Texas Forest Service said on its Web site Monday.

"High winds moving across record-dry fuels will result in fire intensities very difficult to control. Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees above normal and relative humidity will fall to the single digits," the report said.

Texas wildfires have burned at least 65,000 acres and firefighters spent the weekend fighting the Dickens County Complex Wildfire, about 73 miles east of Lubbock, the Texas Forest Service said.

The Miller Wildfire is burning from Texas to eastern Arizona and it has consumed more than 27,000 acres in New Mexico's Gila National Forest.

The Incident Information System said the fire forced evacuations in Gila Hot Springs and caused the closure of New Mexico's Highway 15.

Officials said that fire was human-caused.

The Southwest Coordination Center said of the six fires in Arizona, humans started at least two. Difficult terrain has made fighting the Arizona fires more difficult and dangerous, officials said.

Accuweather.com said the arrival of showers later this week would lessen the fire threat in some areas, although strong winds will keep the fire danger high.

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