Threat of Wildfires High for Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas

A wildfire near Woodward Okla

Milder weather conditions in northwestern New Mexico could help firefighters who have been keeping a pair of wildfires on a mountain and a nearby butte largely in check despite strong winds. National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Speheger says such conditions haven't been seen in at least a decade.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder praised fire crews on Wednesday for protecting so much property despite a lack of air support because of winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour (96 kph) on Tuesday. Air and ground resources are in place to fight the fires, including helicopters, CL-415 Super Scoopers, Type 1 Airtankers, and 5 OFS Task Forces.

The Laverne Fire in Beaver and Harper counties has burned 100 acres, and the Hooker Fire in Texas County has burned 179 acres but is 90 percent contained. Two people have died and at least 9 injured in the Oklahoma fires.

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The Rhea Fire in Dewey County is by far the largest blaze that firefighters are now battling.

Officials estimated the fire could be fully contained late Friday, a "target date", Nichols said.

Elder hopes they can put the remaining fire out before winds pick up later Wednesday.

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Notices warning residents of several subdivisions in the area to be ready to evacuate their homes at a moment's notice have been lifted and an evacuation center in Grants closed. Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin have issued disaster declarations.

Wildfire near Seiling was battled by firefighters overnight, authorities report.

As of Tuesday night, the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management said, states of emergency had been declared in 52 counties in the state. Homes have been burned or destroyed in Kansas and Oklahoma too, although emergency management officials have been unable to provide exact numbers because the areas affected by wildfires were still too hot to enter.

StormTracker 13 Sunday morning forecast
Snow levels should stay fairly high Sunday night above 7,000' but could fall down to most mountain passes Monday into Tuesday. Afternoon highs will mainly reach the middle 60s and nighttime lows will be in the cool 40s under partly cloudy skies.

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