Critical fire risk continues in the western US as wildfires force residents from their homes
Dry thunderstorms, extreme heat fueling critical fire risk across the region
Nearly 4 million Americans in five states are under a Fire Weather Warning as extreme heat and dry conditions fuel a critical fire risk in parts of the western United States on Monday.
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Monday's critical fire risk comes as several large wildfires have prompted evacuation orders from officials in California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Let's first take a look at locations at risk of wildfires on Monday.
The critical risk includes central and northern Arizona, southeastern Utah, most of southern Colorado and central and northern New Mexico.
The elevated risk stretches from parts of Southern California and Nevada across the Southwest and into areas of southeastern Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
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Dry thunderstorms also pose a threat across New Mexico, adding to concerns of new wildfires igniting.
Cloud-to-ground lightning can strike the surface and spark a wildfire, especially if the vegetation is dry. Gusty winds associated with the thunderstorm can then fan the flames and cause the fire to quickly grow out of control.
Because of the elevated and critical risk of wildfires across the region, Fire Weather Warnings have been issued in five states through Tuesday.
Most of those warnings are in effect in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. However, an area of central Nevada has been included in the warning.
In Arizona, the warnings include the cities of Cave Creek, Flagstaff, which is where the Pipeline Fire is currently burning, and Page.
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In New Mexico, cities from Silver City north through Socorro, Santa Fe and Raton are included.
Grand Junction and Telluride are the major cities in Colorado that are included in the Fire Weather Warnings, while Cedar City in Utah is under a warning.
Let's now take a closer look at some of the larger wildfires burning in the region that has led to the evacuation of residents.
The Midnight Fire is currently burning in the Carson National Forest in New Mexico.
So far, the fire has charred nearly 4,000 acres of land and is 0% contained.
Officials say at least 225 firefighters are working to contain and extinguish the blaze, but high temperatures and dry conditions are making it extremely difficult.
Crews have been busy working to extinguish the largest fire in New Mexico's history, the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fire, but some were pulled from efforts there to help crews get a handle on the Midnight Fire.
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The Pipeline Fire is currently burning outside Flagstaff, Arizona, and has so far burned about 4,500 acres and is also 0% contained.
The fire began Sunday morning, and officials say a 57-year-old man has been arrested by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers and charged with natural resource violations.
Nearly 300 firefighters are working to contain and extinguish the fire, and evacuations have been ordered for residents near the fire's perimeter.
For more information about the fire and evacuations, click here.
The Sheep Fire is burning near the community of Wrightwood in San Bernardino County in Southern California and has so far burned nearly 1,000 acres. The fire is currently 5% contained.
The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District said several evacuation warnings and orders remain in place, and shelters have been set up for residents as well as animals and livestock while crews work to get a handle on that fire.
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FOX 11 Los Angeles reports an evacuation center has been opened at Serrano High School, and the Red Cross is at that location to assist evacuated residents.
In addition, an evacuation center for small animals was opened at the Devore Animal Shelter in San Bernardino.