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    Wildfires Burning Out of Control in West

    By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
    June 08, 2012, 9:38:18 AM EDT

    While the largest wildfire ever burns across New Mexico, the wildfire situation looks dismal in the Southwest over the next four to six weeks.

    "At least through June, it's a bad situation," said Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster.


    Severe to extreme drought conditions gripping the Southwest are contributing to the rash of wildfires scorching the region.

    "Stingy winter storms" and little rainfall during the spring and summer months have led to the fire-fueling drought conditions, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    In addition, storms moving into the West have been stirring high winds across the Southwest without bringing the much-needed rain. The strong winds have been fanning the flames of wildfires.


    Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Colorado are among the states that have been dealing with an extreme fire threat.

    The Whitewater-Baldy Fire burning in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico is the largest in the state's history. As of Thursday afternoon, Inciweb reports that the fire has charred nearly 264,000 acres.


    Some Relief Later This Summer?
    Heavy monsoon downpours are expected to arrive by the middle of July, potentially helping out the situation. Monsoon moisture streams into the Southwest from the eastern Pacific during the summer months, providing fuel for thunderstorms.

    Playing a role in the active monsoon thunderstorm season anticipated is the near-normal number of named tropical storms forecast in the eastern Pacific in 2012.

    "Some of the storms may impact the Four Corners states with both needed rain and flooding problems," explained AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    While beneficial rain will fall, the nature of monsoon thunderstorms is hit-or-miss, meaning that not every community that needs the rain will receive it.

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