RATON, N.M. – Firefighters have overcome fierce winds in their effort to corral blazes that have scorched more than 5,000 acres of desert land and some 1,100 acres of high-country timber in New Mexico.
The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning for much of the state Monday. Gusts between 40 mph and 50 mph were common, but state Forestry Division spokesman Dan Ware said firefighters were able to keep the fires in check.
The largest blaze, the Adobe Fire southeast of Animas in New Mexico's bootheel, has burned about 5,100 acres of heavy grass and brush, Ware said.
About a dozen firefighters have been working to clear a line around the lightning-caused blaze. No structures were threatened, he 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.
The 124-acre Capulin Fire burned pinon, juniper and ponderosa pine trees along with grass in rugged terrain at Bandelier National Monument.
"Right now, we just have the hand crews working due to the remoteness of the area," said Lawrence Lujan, public information officer.
More than 50 people were assigned to the fire along with two helicopters. The fire was threatening cultural and archaeological sites, Lujan said.
Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire, which was kindled Sunday.
Two lightning-caused fires were burning mixed conifer and ponderosa pine trees on media mogul Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch in northeastern New Mexico. The Brilliant 2 Fire, west of Raton, burned 300 acres and the nearby Chimney Fire scorched about 100 acres, Ware said.
Crews assigned to the Brilliant 2 Fire cleared lines on the blaze's eastern flank and helped protect electricity lines feeding Raton. The fire was 10 percent contained, Ware said.
The Chimney Fire was about 30 percent contained, he said.
In west-central New Mexico, the lightning-sparked Garley Fire burned 115 acres of ponderosa pine trees and trees killed by bark beetles on the southeastern flank of Mount Taylor, officials said. Two helicopters, two engines and two water tenders helped from the air as 141 people tackled flames on the ground.