The Latest: Fires force closure of New Mexico state park
Apr. 13, 2018
GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in New Mexico (all times local):
Officials have closed Bluewater Lake State Park in western New Mexico until further notice due to two wildfires burning nearby in the Zuni Mountains.
State park officials announced Friday that both sides of the lake have been evacuated as crews continue to battle the flames.
With the closure, the ribbon-cutting ceremony that had been scheduled for Saturday for a new visitor center at the park has been postponed.
Firefighters also are battling blazes in southern New Mexico that have forced the evacuation of some homes near Capitan and along the Texas-New Mexico border.
Officials say the grassfire along the border grew at a rate of nearly two football fields a minute until it was stopped in Texas.
Firefighters battling flames around New Mexico are bracing for another day of strong gusts as forecasters have issued red-flag warnings for parts of the state due to the dry, windy conditions.
Crews working on two fires in western New Mexico were helped overnight by a combination of low temperatures, high humidity and light snow but gusts of 40 mph were expected Friday.
In southern New Mexico, crews are fighting two fires that have forced some residents from their homes.
One blaze has burned an estimated 93 square miles (24,280 hectares) of grassland along the Texas-New Mexico border and forced the evacuation of about a dozen homes.
Crews on the Texas side reported Friday that the fire was looking good and only smoldering.
Cibola National Forest officials say residents of several subdivisions in the Zuni Mountains near Grants in northwestern New Mexico should remain poised to evacuate if necessary because of two wildfires.
However, forest officials said Thursday that containment lines were holding after the fires had little growth overnight. Each was estimated at 1,000 acres (405 hectares).
Subdivisions remaining under pre-evacuation notices include Bluewater, Bluewater Acres, Bluewater Village and La Jara.
Officials say a Type One management team was assembling to take over management of both fires.
Causes of the fires remain under investigation.