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Dry, windy storm ups Arizona's fire danger

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.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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