Dangerous fire weather was expected to develop on Friday, worsening conditions for firefighters across the United States
Fox Weather reported that there is an extreme fire risk in the central and southern High Plains, including Colorado and Kansas.
High fire weather risk also exists in the northeast, where gusty winds and low humidity could fuel any fires in forested areas.
While crews had made progress on the deadly Nebraska Highway 702 Fire – which has been burning since last week – officials were wary of lightning strikes and shifting winds at speeds of up to 50mph from oncoming thunderstorms.
This fire, which has burned 43,582 acres, is now 88% contentaccording to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
On Thursday, crews focused on two areas of uncontrolled burning just south of US Highway 6 along the Republican River.
Red flag warnings for extreme fire danger were in place Thursday for Nebraska, all of New Mexico and parts of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.
Bad firefighting weather generated unusually hot and fast fires for this time of year.
The US Forest Service said firefighters were working to contain the Barnett branch fire in North Carolina, which was first reported on Wednesday, and a new fire in New Mexico broke out in Alamo Navajo Indian Reservation Thursday.
At least 166 homes were destroyed in northeastern New Mexico where the largest fire currently burning in the United States and winds of up to 50 mph were also expected in the drought-stricken region.
According to the United States National Forest Service for Santa Fe National Forecast, the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires are now 37% contained, spanning 65,824 acres.
The agency noted that a wind-driven run on the northern edge of the blaze challenged firefighters both on the ground and in the air Thursday.
About 3,000 firefighters were battling blazes in Arizona and New Mexico.
The fire is now 89% contentspanning 19,075 acres.
This fire – one of many in Arizona – affected more than 100 properties and burned 30 residences.
Over a million acres have been burning across the country since January 1.
According to a recent outlook issued by the NIFC.
Wildfires have become a year-round threat in the West. Scientists said the problems have been exacerbated by decades of fire suppression and poor management, as well as a more than 20-year-old mega-drought that studies link to human-caused climate change.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.