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PHOENIX -- A huge swath of Arizona will be at critical fire danger levels Tuesday as a dry, windy storm rolls through.

Mark O'Malley with the National Weather Service said the most critical conditions will be along the Colorado River Valley in western Arizona. The area covers from southern Utah to the Mexican border and includes Kingman, Lake Havasu City and Yuma.

"Winds will quickly increase [Tuesday] afternoon," he said. "We're expecting speeds of 20 to 30 mph in the western and northern part of the state."

O'Malley said the combination of gusty winds, low humidity and dry brush could turn a spark into an extremely dangerous wildfire. He said people should limit the use of outdoor power equipment that can generate heat or sparks and don't toss cigarette butts out the window.

The winds in the Valley are not expected to be as extreme as western Arizona but it will be under a Red Flag Fire Warning beginning at 2 p.m. because of the winds, low humidity and dry fuels. Phoenix has only had an inch of rain this year, two inches below normal.

Prescott, the Grand Canyon and most of northeastern Arizona will be at elevated fire danger levels Tuesday as well.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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