Parched earth and scorching temperatures are creating nearly impossible conditions for firefighters battling fires across 10 states Monday. One U.S. Senator is now facing his own firefight over comments he made about the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
In Arizona, 10,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as 50 mile-per-hour winds pushed a 10 foot high wall of flames near the city of Sierra Vista.
"I feared for my husband and my animals for the air, air quality," said evacuee June Carter.
More than 700 firefighters came from all over the country to battle what's known as the Monument Fire.
Arizona Senator John McCain blamed illegal immigrants for starting some of the fires, though a federal spokesman denies that charge.
Three dozen massive wildfires are currently raging across seven states -- burning more than 1.2 million acres. More than 4.3 million acres burned this year. Authorities call this a perfect storm for fires.
"What we're seeing is prolonged droughts, more weather extremes," said Tod Tidwell with the U.S. Forest Service.
Along with Arizona, Texas has been the hardest hit. North of Houston, a 14,000-acre blaze is among the largest East Texas has ever seen. It is a nightmare scenario for firefighters in the Lone Star State. 15,000 acres burned and it was above 100 degrees. The choking smoke forced a 5 hour shutdown of I-45 -- the only interstate that connects Houston and Dallas.
"It's dry out, and the smallest little fire with the wind, just like today, it doesn't take long for it to spread real fast," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Texas Fire Marshal's office.
In New Mexico, the Pacheco Canyon Wildfire is just nine-miles north of Santa Fe. At this point, that fire is not threatening any homes.