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Wildfire Rages in New Mexico

The fire has blackened more than 177 square miles in the last six days, making it the largest in New Mexico history. The blaze threatened the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory and forced thousands to evacuate. Wildfires have swept the southwest, through Arizona and New Mexico.

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July 1: Fire damaged forest land along Camp May Road west of Los Alamos, N.M, caused by the Las Conchas Fire near Los Alamos, N.M.

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July 1: U.S. Forest Service firefighter Brandon DeLong of Quincy, Calif., monitors a burnout at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, in Albuquerque, N.M. .

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July 1: Firefighter Eugene Pino, of Las Vegas, N.M., walks away after watching Los Alamos Canyon filled with smoke from the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos, N.M. As firefighters held their ground Friday on the flank of the massive wildfire that burned near the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, officials at the lab and in the surrounding town began planning for the return of thousands of residents and employees who fled the area earlier this week. 

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July 1: Firefighter Brandon DeLong, left, and Andrew Buus conduct a burnout operation while battling the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos, N.M. As firefighters held their ground Friday on the flank of the massive wildfire that burned near the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, officials at the lab and in the surrounding town began planning for the return of thousands of residents and employees who fled the area earlier this week.

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June 30: Hotshot crew members mop up hot spots during the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos, N.M. With firefighters bracing for another day of strong, erratic winds, the wildfire near the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory and a northern New Mexico community was poised to become the largest forest fire in state history.

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June 29: The Las Conchas Fire burns along the top of a mesa, in Los Alamos, N,M. The government sent a plane equipped with radiation monitors over the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory Wednesday as a 110-square-mile wildfire burned at its doorstep, putting thousands of scientific experiments on hold for days. 

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June 29: The Las Conchas Fire burns through a canyon, in Los Alamos, N,M. The government sent a plane equipped with radiation monitors over the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory Wednesday as a 110-square-mile wildfire burned at its doorstep, putting thousands of scientific experiments on hold for days.

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June 12: A photographer looks at smoke from a burnout fire as firefighters battle the Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Ariz. Roughly 7,000 residents of two eastern Arizona towns evacuated last week as a wildfire loomed nearby were allowed to return home Sunday as officials expressed confidence that they were making progress in their battle against the huge blaze that has been burning since May.

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June 12: Kelly Wood, public information officer from Pinetop Fire Department, and photographers watch as smoke rises around the Lee Valley Recreational area in the Apache National Forest during back burn operations as the Wallow Fire continues to burn in Big Lake, Arizona. The wild fire which is reported as 45 percent contained has spread over more than 600 square miles as it crossed the border into New Mexico, destroying over twenty structures, the majority in the resort town of Greer, and threatened thousands more.

2011 Getty Images

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June12: Two elk walk through smoke from a burnout fire as firefighters battle the Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Ariz. The roughly 7,000 residents of two eastern Arizona towns evacuated last week, were allowed to return home Sunday as officials expressed confidence that they were making progress in their battle against the huge blaze that has been burning since May.

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June 12: A butterfly flies as smoke rises from a burnout fire during the Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Ariz. Roughly 7,000 residents of two eastern Arizona towns evacuated last week as a wildfire loomed nearby were allowed to return home Sunday as officials expressed confidence that they were making progress in their battle against the huge blaze that has been burning since May.

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June 12: Smoke rises from a burnout fire as firefighters battle the Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Ariz. Roughly 7,000 residents of two eastern Arizona towns evacuated last week as a wildfire loomed nearby were allowed to return home Sunday as officials expressed confidence that they were making progress in their battle against the huge blaze that has been burning since May.

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June 12: Trees burn in a burnout fire as firefighters battle the Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Ariz. Roughly 7,000 residents of two eastern Arizona towns evacuated last week as a wildfire loomed nearby were allowed to return home Sunday as officials expressed confidence that they were making progress in their battle against the huge blaze that has been burning since May.

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June 12: A wildland firefighter works at a hot spot on the eastern edge of the Wallow Wildfire outside Alpine, Arizona near the state border west of the town of Luna, New Mexico. Forest fire crews along the Arizona-New Mexico border braced for another day of high winds and low humidity on Sunday, battling the monster blaze that has forced as many as 10,000 people from their homes and charred 680 square miles.

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June 11: Firefighter Jimmy Niesen, of Surprise, Ariz., sprays water on a hot spot during the Wallow Fire in Greer, Ariz. Smoke from the huge wildfire in eastern Arizona that has claimed more than 30 homes and forced nearly 10,000 people to flee has officials worried about serious health impacts to residents and firefighters as tiny particles of soot in the air reached "astronomical" levels.

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June 11: A police officer wears a mask while manning a checkpoint as smoke from the Wallow Fire fills the air near Springerville, Ariz.

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June 10: A hotshot sets a backburn fire along highway 191 to protect the town of Nutrioso, Ariz, from the Wallow fire burning in eastern Arizona. 

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June 8: The Wallow fire burns towards Eagar, Ariz, north of Greer, Ariz. The fire in eastern Arizona that already forced thousands from their homes headed Wednesday for a pair of transmission lines that supply electricity to hundreds of thousands of people as far east as Texas.

AP Photo/Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

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June 6: Photos provided by Nasa and taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Aqua satellite show smoke billowing from the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona. The fire beneath the smoke is outlined in red. The 365-square-mile Wallow fire has been burning for more than a week.

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June 8: TSmoke blankets the area known as the Round Valley as the Wallow Fire burns in the hills southwest of Eagar, Ariz.

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June 8: Safety officer Kurt Schierenbeck opens a gate as the Wallow Fire approaches Eagar Ariz. A raging forest fire in eastern Arizona has scorched an area the size of Phoenix, threatening thousands of residents and emptying towns as the flames raced toward New Mexico.

AP Photo/ The Arizona Republic

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June 8: Fire crew members walk in line as they prepare for a back burn operation in Eagar, Ariz. A raging forest fire in eastern Arizona has scorched an area the size of Phoenix, threatening thousands of residents and emptying towns as the flames raced toward New Mexico.

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June 8: Christine Thomas, of Springerville, Ariz. rests on a cot at the evacuation center at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside, Ariz. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the high school. Thomas said she was forced to evacuate because of the approaching Wallow Fire.

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June 8: A truck drives west on highway 260 away from the Wallow fire as it burns to about one mile from the western edge of Eagar, Ariz.

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June 8: Members of the media watch the Wallow Fire from a ridge outside of Eagar, Ariz.

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June 7: Hotshot fire crew members stand along the road as the hold the fire line during the Wallow fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Springerville, Ariz.

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June 7: Lucas Malone stands on the roof of his father-in-law's house as the Wallow fire approaches in Eagar, Ariz.

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June 7: A sign outside of a home thanks firefighters for their efforts as the Wallow fire approaches in Eagar, Ariz.

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June 7: Firefighter Rigoberto Torres, of Orange Cove, Calif., walks along the road while watching a flame during the Wallow fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Springerville, Ariz.

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June 6: Robert Joseph, 64, rides his ATV as smoke plumes from the Wallow fire fill the sky in Luna, N.M.

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June 6: An SUV drives along the street as smoke plumes from the Wallow fire fill the sky in Luna, N.M.

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June 6: Navajo County Sheriff's Deputy, who declined to give his name, looks at smoke plumes from the Wallow fire as he talks to a truck driver in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Luna, N.M.

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June 5: Firefighter Brian Quimby, of Eagle River, Alaska, rests in a schoolyard after battling the Wallow fire in Eagar, Ariz.

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June 5: Barbara Keehn, 56, waters plants as heavy smoke from the Wallow fire fills the town of Greer, Ariz.

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June 1: Smoke fills the sky casting an eerie orange glow over the town of Alpine as the Wallow Fire burns in the Bear Wallow Wilderness southwest of Alpine, Ariz.

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June 1: Fire crew trucks along Forest Route 24 are dwarfed by large plumes of smoke from the Wallow Fire burning in the Bear Wallow Wilderness southwest of Alpine, Ariz.

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June 3: Mike Taylor, left, from ADOT, talks to Ron Grittman, from Chino Valley, at a roadblock on Highway 180 at Nelson Reservoir in Springerville, Ariz.. 

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June 2: Tim Rogers from the U.S. Forest Service attacks a spot fire in the Chapache subdivision at the Wallow Fire in Alpine, Ariz.

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June 3: A farm in Luna, N.M., sits below the smoke column from the Wallow fire.

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June 4: A horse sits in a smoke-filled field in Eager, Ariz. Firefighters are working to contain two of the largest wildfires in Arizona's history that together have burned through more than 300 square miles of timber and brush.

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Wildfire Rages in New Mexico

The fire has blackened more than 177 square miles in the last six days, making it the largest in New Mexico history. The blaze threatened the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory and forced thousands to evacuate. Wildfires have swept the southwest, through Arizona and New Mexico.

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