Wildfire threat in at least five US states, forecasters warn

Forecasters in the US have warned of dangerous, life-threatening wildfire conditions as firefighters in rural Oklahoma battled blazes that have killed at least two people.

Gusty winds and low humidity in drought-stricken areas will create dangerous fire conditions in parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Centre in Norman, Oklahoma.

National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Speheger said such conditions in the Southwest and Southern Plains have not been seen in at least a decade.

Temperatures are projected to reach the mid-90s in Fahrenheit (mid 30s Celsius) with humidity below 10% and winds gusting to 40mph.

The forecast includes northwestern Texas and the Texas Panhandle where firefighting aircraft are stationed in Amarillo, Abilene and surrounding areas.

"With these conditions, wildfires can spread rapidly, present control issues for firefighters and pose a real threat to public safety," said Texas A&M Forest Service fire chief Mark Stanford.

In Oklahoma, two people have died in the fires and nine others have been taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation or heat-related injuries, emergency management officials reported.

- Digital Desk and Press Association


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