2011-06-20 00:01:33As Arizona fires rage, 7 states face extreme fire risk Sunday -- CNN
John Hartz
John Hartz

I suspect there are many people living in these seven states who are rethinking their position on climate change.

CNN) -- Firefighters across the southwestern United States on Sunday could face some of the worst weather conditions of the season for battling blazes currently raging across the region.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for most of Arizona, all of New Mexico, much of north Texas and portions of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Utah for Sunday. A red flag warning means weather conditions -- mainly high heat, low humidity and strong winds -- pose an extreme fire risk.

"The winds certainly will be very gusty and strong," said Ken Daniel, NWS meteorologist in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Any new fire starts would have the potential to have explosive growth."

The forecast calls for winds of 30 mph or more in some areas, with gusts of up to 50 mph, Daniel said.

There are currently dozens of active wildfires burning in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to InciWeb, an online interagency database that tracks fires, floods and other disasters.

Nationwide, wildfires have burned almost as many acres in the first half of 2011 than were recorded by the National Interagency Fire Center for all of 2010. The agency reports on its website that 3.1 million acres in the United States had been ignited by wildfires as of May 31, compared to 3.2 million burned acres cited in the organization's year-end report in November 2010.

Source: As Arizona fires rage, 7 states face extreme fire risk Sunday, CNN, June 19, 2011