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Texas officials issue extreme wildfire threat

Texas officials issued an extreme wildfire threat for the western half of the state on Friday and through the weekend due to forecasts of high winds and low humidity.

The director of the state's Division of Emergency Management said the conditions could create catastrophic wildfires.

The state established a tanker base in Abilene with three heavy tankers, six heli-tankers, six air-attack aircraft, 25 engines and 50 bulldozers. Eight helicopters also have been deployed, and firefighters are being brought in from other states to help with the wildfire threat.

Winds in the region are expected to gust around 60 mph, with areas of blowing dust Friday afternoon, and relative humidity should be in the single digits. High temperatures are expected around 80 degrees.

West Texas skies should be mostly clear Friday night with windy conditions persisting. Lows were expected to be in the mid-40s with west winds 40 to 50 mph and gusts to around 65 mph, decreasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight.

Both North and West Texas should be mostly sunny and breezy on Friday with highs from the low to mid-80s, according to National Weather Service forecasts. Southwesterly winds of 15 to 25 mph were forecast in North Texas on Friday afternoon. Wind gusts up to 35 mph were possible. Skies should become partly cloudy Friday night with lows in the lower 50s and winds from the southwest at 10 to 15 mph, shifting to the west after midnight.

Partly cloudy skies were expected in Southeast Texas on Friday with highs in the upper 80s and winds from the southwest from 10 to 15 mph. Lows will be around 60 degrees.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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