(AP) — Crews are preparing for a raging 22,400-acre blaze in southern New Mexico’s Gila National Forest to grow as the area expects to see drier and windy weather.
Officials say close to 600 firefighters Monday are battling the Silver Fire, which is now 5 percent contained.
But lower humidity and high winds may spark more troubles for crews.
Officials say protection work almost is complete on the nearby historic mining town of Kingston.
Meanwhile, Thompson Ridge Fire, the state’s largest blaze at 23,680 acres, is now 80 percent contained. On the other side of the Santa Fe National Forest, the nearly 10,240-acre Tres Lagunas fire north of Pecos was 90 percent contained.
Fire crews focus on homes
KINGSTON – Crews were focusing Sunday on protecting homes in a historic southwest New Mexico mining town from a 35-square mile wildfire that had prompted the evacuation of 26 people from their houses.
Fire information officer Kevin Bailey said crews fighting the Silver Fire planned on Sunday to strengthen fire protection lines that have already been built around the community of Kingston.
The fire hasn’t burned into the community. The distance between the lightning-caused blaze and the closest homes was unknown.
Crews had removed brush from around the homes. Firetrucks are waiting nearby in case they are needed to protect the homes.
The evacuation of homes in Kingston remained in place Sunday.
Firefighters caught a break over the past few days as Friday brought rain and Saturday brought somewhat mild weather conditions.
Thunderstorms forecast for Sunday could bring more humidity but also carry the risk of bringing gusty winds that could spread the fire and dry lightning strikes that could start new fires.
The blaze is 5 percent contained.
In northern New Mexico, crews fighting a fire 14 miles southwest of Cimarron were focused on protecting electric power lines that were within a quarter mile of the fire and a Boy Scout ranch that was a few miles away from the blaze.
The nearly 2-square mile Whites Peak fire had prompted about 100 Boy Scouts to relocate to another camping area.
Crews were clearing away vegetation around the power lines and used aircraft to drop retardant on the area.
The lightning-caused blaze burning on private and state land was 15 percent contained.
Two other wildfires in New Mexico were moving toward full containment.
The 37-square mile Thompson Ridge Fire on the Valles Caldera National Preserve was 80 percent contained.
The nearly 16-square mile Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos was 90 percent contained.
At both fires, all evacuations have been called off.