By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are warning that expanding drought conditions coupled with hot and dry weather, extreme wind and unstable atmospheric conditions have led to explosive fire behavior in the Southwest. U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore cited the extreme conditions Friday in announcing a pause on prescribed fire operations on all national forest lands while his agency conducts a 90-day review of protocols and practices. Large wildfires burning in New Mexico were fanned Friday by gusty winds, and crews battled blazes in Texas and Colorado. Weather forecasters had issued red-flag warnings due high fire danger for a large swath that stretched from Arizona through New Mexico to Texas.
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