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Extreme Fire Threats Prompt US Suspension of Planned Burns

A firefighting crew at the scene of a field on fire adjacent to the Amazon Distribution Center in Colorado Springs., on May 12.

A firefighting crew at the scene of a field on fire adjacent to the Amazon Distribution Center in Colorado Springs., on May 12.

Photographer: (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette/AP

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Albuquerque, N.M. (AP) -- U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore cited extreme fire danger and unfavorable weather conditions Friday in announcing a suspension of all planned fire burning operations to clear brush and small trees on all national forest lands while his agency conducts a review of protocols and practices ahead of planned operations this fall.

His decision came as federal forecasters warned that expanding drought conditions coupled with hot and dry weather, extreme wind and unstable atmospheric conditions have led to explosive fire behavior in the southwestern U.S. The fires that are set on purpose are called prescribed burns or fires.