Fast-spreading wildfires have caused evacuations in Colorado and New Mexico on Saturday.
In northern Colorado, between 2,000 and 3,000 acres have been scorched by flames while 10,000 acres in New Mexico are ablaze.
Hundreds of emergency personnel are responding to both crises.
'This the fire we always feared we'd have,' Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said at an 8 p.m. press conference, the Denver Post reported.
The Colorado fire was reported just before 6 a.m. Saturday in the mountainous Paradise Park area about 25 miles northwest of Fort Collins.
He said at least 46 structures and likely many more have been evacuated, and an evacuation center has been set up at Cache La Poudre Middle School in Laporte.
Several structures are in the area, but no damage or injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
'Right now we're just trying to get these evacuations done and get people safe,' Schulz told KMGH, adding that 'given the extreme heat in the area, it makes it a difficult time for (the firefighters).'
Temperatures near Fort Collins reached the mid-80s Saturday afternoon with a humidity level of between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Two heavy air tankers, a single-engine air tanker and three helicopters are on the scene to help fight the blaze, which appears to be burning on private and U.S. Forest Service land and is being fueled by sustained winds of between 20 and 25 mph.
'It was just good conditions to grow,' National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Gimmestad said. 'The conditions today were really favorable for it to take off.'
He said firefighters should benefit from cooler weather this evening, but the cold front also is expected to bring wind gusts as high as 40 mph.
'It's a trade off,' he said. 'The biggest thing might be that it will be pushing (the fire) in a different direction and the way this is playing out, it might be in the direction of homes.'
Meanwhile, firefighters in New Mexico are battling a blaze that was sparked by lightning, according to MSNBC.
Flames reached as high as 150 feet, fanned by 20mph winds.
'It's nowhere near controlled. We're doing a lot of evacuations,' Lincoln County Undersheriff Robert Shepperd said to the Alamogordo Daily News.
Officials believe at least 20 buildings have been destroyed or damaged and surrounding communities and campgrounds have been evacuated.
'It's nerve-racking right now,' Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn said to the paper.
'Today all we see is smoke. Last night, we saw the flames too and it was an awesome expression of power. It was red, red and we could see it going across the top.'