High Winds Fail to Blow Up New Mexico Desert Wildfires

May 25, 2006

A desert wildfire that has burned about 8,000 acres of New Mexico grass and brush remains uncontained Tuesday, but firefighters were pleased that high winds that fanned the blaze Monday did not blow the fire out of control.

The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning for much of the state Monday. Gusts between 40 and 50 mph were common, but state Forestry Division spokesman Dan Ware said firefighters were able to keep the fires in check.

The Adobe fire southeast of Animas in New Mexico’s bootheel has burned about 8,000 acres and was about 10 percent contained, Ware said. No structures were threatened.

The 5,500-acre Cerro Fire, which charred grass and some ponderosa pine in Mora County, was started by lightning Monday night and whipped by winds. By Tuesday, the threat to several structures was over and the fire was 70 percent contained, Ware said.

North of Corona, wind gusts of up to 45 mph fanned the Encino fire before “some well-timed rain” put a damper on the spread of the fire, Ware said. Crews are putting out hot spots remaining from the 500-acre fire. No structures were threatened, and investigators did not immediately know what caused the blaze.

In Arizona, an elite Type 1 firefighting management team has been called in to coordinate the battle against a 650-acre wildfire burning north of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains. With 100-degree temperatures and high winds expected over the next three days, authorities requested the team to keep the fire from spreading.

It was 10 percent contained by Monday night, according to fire officials who said no structures were threatened and no injuries have been reported.

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