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Raging fires in New Mexico prompt critical warnings

raging-fires-in-new-mexico-prompt-critical-warnings
Nicolas Resille / EyeEm/Getty

(PHOENIX) — There are at least 11 large wildfires currently raging in the Southwestern U.S. — largely in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Tunnel Fire in Arizona has burned 21,087 acres and is 3% contained as of Friday. This is one of multiple large wildfires burning in the state, with the Crooks Fire also burning south of Prescott.

Dangerous fire weather conditions are expected in the coming hours across portions of Colorado and New Mexico where an extreme fire danger alert is in place.

Strong winds, very dry and warm conditions will fuel potentially dangerous weather that could spark new fires and make any existing fires difficult to battle.

Wind gusts could top 60 to 70 mph along with relative humidity values falling into the single digits in spots.

Widespread drought conditions persist across much of the West into the Plains. Over 93% of New Mexico is facing severe drought conditions.

A severe weather threat will unfold across a large swath of the Plains Friday evening into the night. Severe thunderstorms will be possible from the Texas panhandle up into the Dakotas.

Severe thunderstorms moving into the region may bring damaging wind gusts and large hail. Tornadoes could also occur.

The bulk of these storms will begin around 8 to 9 p.m. ET and will persist into the overnight period in some areas.

Weather alerts are in effect across more than a dozen states from California to Minnesota.

There are widespread red flag and high wind warnings in effect across several states, including Denver, Colorado and New Mexico.

A wind advisory remains in place for Flagstaff, Arizona, and surrounding areas until 8 p.m. MT, with more wind gusts on the way.

Winter weather alerts are in effect across parts of the Rockies into the northern Plains. A blizzard warning is in effect from Miles City, Montana, to Minot, North Dakota.

Flood watches are in effect for parts of the Upper Midwest as well. Storm impacts are winding down along the West Coast as the system moves eastward and into the Plains.

On Saturday, the severe thunderstorm threat will stretch from Oklahoma up to Minnesota with more damaging wind gusts, large hail and the possibility of tornadoes.

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