The Latest: Chief: Fire that crossed state line contained
CAPITAN, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico wildfires (all times local):
An eastern New Mexico fire chief says growth of a wildfire that straddled the New Mexico-Texas line has been contained.
Milnesand Fire Chief John Mohon told the Eastern New Mexico News that the fire that started in Lea County and spread into neighboring Roosevelt County and Texas’ Cochran Count grew to at least 94 square miles (24,282 hectares) before being contained late Friday.
Mohon says the fire is “under control” and mostly out but could flare back as firefighters continued looking for hot spots Saturday.
According to Mohon, the fire destroyed three abandoned structures and dozens of utility poles.
A top-level management team on Saturday assumed command over crews battling two nearby wildfires after high winds Friday caused the fires to grow to a combined 8 square miles (2,103 hectares) on part of the Cibola National Forest in northwestern New Mexico.
The fires were burning on a mountain and a mesa about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest of Grants and started Thursday, one because of an abandoned campfire and the other from an unknown cause.
Fire officials said crews are focused on securing the fires’ north and east sides to protect several subdivisions. Winds are now coming from the northwest but are expected to shift in a few days to come out of the southwest.
Pre-evacuation notices remained in effect for residents of Bluewater Subdivision, Bluewater Acres, Bluewater Village and La Jara Subdivision.
If evacuations are ordered, an evacuation center will be located at Grants High School while the Grants Rodeo Grounds can be used to house livestock.
Several wildfires continued to burn in rural areas of New Mexico on Saturday, a day after a 2,600-acre (1,052-hectare) fire near Capitan in southeastern New Mexico destroyed two homes and four other buildings and threatened a total of 20 structures.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Trinity Baptist Church in Capitan.
Officials reports that containment of a 60,000-acre (24,282-hectare) fire straddling the New Mexico-Texas line was at 90 percent in New Mexico and 75 percent in Texas, where fire officials said one home and another building were lost.
In northwestern New Mexico, crews used bulldozers and burnout operations to build lines around a fire to keep it on mesa and away from a subdivision northwest of Grants. Two fires in that area have burned 1,000 acres (405 hectares).