US firefighters battle fire's advance

2011-06-14 10:01
Reserve - Crews who've been battling a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona for two weeks shifted their focus on Monday to New Mexico, where they lit fires to stop its advance and protect another mountain town in its path.

In the opposite corner of New Mexico, near the Colorado border, winds kicked up flames at a wildfire that had already forced evacuations and closed 32km of the main north-south highway through both states.

"We're watching trees explode before our eyes. It's horrendous," said Barbara Riley, a schoolteacher and bed-and-breakfast owner in Raton, in northeastern New Mexico.

The eastern Arizona fire has been burning since May 29; efforts to stop its spread finally met with success over the weekend as high winds caused no major growth.

Residents of two Arizona towns on the fire's northern edge were allowed to go back home on Sunday, and thousands streamed into Eagar and Springerville through the day. Crews have stopped its northern advance and are now trying to corral its eastern advance into New Mexico by burning a line in front of the fire that it can't cross.

Firefighters confident


In Luna, New Mexico, about 8km from the Arizona line, crews lit fires to keep the flames from getting into town, Catron County Undersheriff Ian Fletcher said on Monday. The operation began on Sunday night, and the 200 or so residents did not have to leave. Fletcher said an evacuation plan is in place in case the situation changes.

"It's holding, and they're pretty confident this morning," Fletcher said. "These guys are getting after it. It's kinda neat to see. I was concerned earlier, but they seem to have it wrapped up pretty well, or it's going well for them right now."

The eastern Arizona fire had grown to 1 830km² by Monday morning, and was just 10% contained. But firefighters have been sounding increasingly confident at their daily briefings that their efforts were paying off.

Meanwhile, fire crews are attacking a wildfire burning on about 728 hectares in southern Colorado in dry, windy conditions. Gusts of up to 72km/h and dry weather on Monday helped drive the fire northwest of Westcliffe in the San Isabel National Forest.


- AP
Read more on:    us  |  fires
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your mind...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.