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Crews make progress in battle against Encino, Cajete fires

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Firefighters appeared to have the upper hand battling blazes that broke out around the state in recent days, including a fire reported near Rio Rancho on Sunday, and the Cajete Fire in the Jemez Mountains.

Officials are investigating the cause of the Encino Fire west of Rio Rancho, which burned an estimated 1,280 acres of grass and juniper overnight Sunday, officials said Monday.

Up to 80 firefighters with eight agencies battled the fire, which started shortly after noon Sunday about eight miles west of the Santa Ana Star Center, said Marc Sandoval, battalion chief of the Rio Rancho Fire Department. No structures were destroyed, and no residents were evacuated, he said.

The fire was about 60 percent contained by midday Monday, when about 60 firefighters remained on the scene.

Federal Bureau of Land Management fire investigators were on site investigating the cause of the fire a short distance east of Encino Road NE, about five miles north of Northern NE. Sandoval asked residents to call 911 to report any suspicious activity in the area.

The cost of fighting the Encino Fire was listed at $250,000, according to a report issued Monday by the National Interagency Coordination Center, a multiagency center that oversees wildfire response.

The Cajete Fire in the Jemez Mountains, which burned an estimated 1,400 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest, was at least 80 percent contained by Monday afternoon, officials said.

Residents who were evacuated Friday were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, said Julie Anne Overton, acting public affairs officer for the Santa Fe National Forest.

The cost of fighting the Cajete Fire was listed at $1.7 million, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center report.