Record N. Mexico Fire Preview of Things to Come

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The biggest wildfire New Mexico's history is getting even bigger, and it's expected to be the first of many such fires across the western United States this year.

Flames spread in all directions Thursday, fueled by hot and dry weather conditions.

"The humidity level right now is at two percent, which is extremely low," New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said. "It does not help the firefighters."

"We really don't feel comfortable until we get a significant amount of rain, and that's not really towards the end of July," Battalion Chief Pruett Small, a supervisor on the Southwest Critical Incident Management team, said.

The fire started two weeks ago. Since then, nearly 300 square miles have burned in New Mexico's Gila National Forest.

"It's highly likely that these fires are going to get so big that states are going to need outside resources to fight them," Jeremy Sullens, a wildland fire analyst at the National Interagency Fire Center, warned.

Drought and wind will make it easy for more fires to break out this summer. Agencies in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona are bracing for the worst this fire season.

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