|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Wildfire forces evacuations in northern New Mexico
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 2,300-acre wildfire forced residents of three small communities in northern New Mexico to flee their homes Sunday.
The 120 residents of Gallina Plaza, Bear Paw Estates and Albers Valley were told to leave, and a 10-mile stretch of state Highway 96 from Regina to Gallina was closed.
Aircraft dropped water and retardant on the blaze, while bulldozers and hand crews dug lines to stop the flames, said Lawrence Lujan, a fire-information officer.
No structures have been lost to the fire, which was burning out of control Sunday. The cause of the fire, which started Saturday, was not known.
In southern New Mexico, a fire burning in the Gila National Forest was held back as thunderstorms brought rain and cooler temperatures to the area. The blaze has charred 50,688 acres.
The fire, detected June 19, destroyed one cabin and forced evacuations from the area, although authorities have not said how many people were forced to flee. About 80 structures are threatened, said Roland Giller, a fire-information officer for the Gila National Forest.
Investigators determined a campfire ignited the fire, and forest officials have offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.
In southern Colorado, all evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for homes near a 13,780-acre wildfire as firefighters got help from cooler, more humid weather.
Residents of about 50 homes in the area were allowed back into the area in the afternoon. At one point, residents of about 300 homes had been asked to evacuate after the fire started June 18.
In northern Arizona, a 4,200-acre wildfire that threatened hundreds of homes was 50 percent contained, fire officials said.
A transient's campfire got out of control June 18 north of Sedona and spread to steep terrain above the canyon. No homes have burned.
North of Sedona, officials reopened two roads leading to the Grand Canyon National Park that were closed because of a 17,589-acre wildfire.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company