LAKE STATE PARK, N.M. – Fenton Lake State Park has reopened in time for Labor Day vacationers after a wildfire scorched more than 4,000 acres of forest around the holiday destination.
The Lakes Fire destroyed four summer cabins and forced the evacuation of nearly 250 homes while snaking through ponderosa and pinon in the Jemez Mountains.
The fire was 70 percent contained on Friday morning, forest spokeswoman Dolores Maese said.
"The crews made good progress constructing line and securing line," she said.
Rebecca Richards, a spokeswoman with the state Parks Division, said authorities decided Thursday to reopen the state park but put fire restrictions in place.
"It (the park) is safe and none of the structures were affected" by the fire, Richards said. The water at the state park also was unaffected, she added.
The fire restrictions at the state park are similar to those placed on the surrounding Santa Fe National Forest. Fires and fueled camp stoves will be allowed only in developed campsites and prohibited in the backcountry, Richards said.
The Lakes Fire, first spotted Monday, was started by an unattended campfire. Investigators had several leads but no suspects were in custody, said fire information officer Jennifer Farley.
In wildfires elsewhere in the West:
-- In Oregon, the size of the massive Biscuit Fire dipped below the half-million-acre mark Friday as firefighters built the last bits of containment lines to securely encircle the blaze.
Burning since July 13 when lightning raked the Siskiyou National Forest, the Biscuit Fire stood at 499,780 acres, down from 500,068 acres, and remained 90 percent contained, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Miera Crawford. Full containment was projected for Wednesday.
-- In Lander, Wyo., residents of several cabins were to be allowed back to assess their property and retrieve personal items on Friday.
Calm, damp weather allowed firefighters to reach 50 percent containment of the Pass Creek fire, which was started by lightning Aug. 24 and has cost $1.8 million to fight. No structures have been lost and no major injuries reported.
The fire has charred 12,629 acres in the Little Popo Agie River and Pass Creek drainages and in Red Canyon about 15 miles south of Lander.
-- In Phoenix, damp weather helped firefighters make progress on three northern Arizona blazes, but officials are concerned about people starting additional fires while celebrating over Labor Day weekend.
"A lot of people are going to be out," fire spokesman Jim Payne said Thursday night. "They just have to be careful."
Recent moisture "greatly reduced the threat" to Washington Park, where 13 summer homes have been evacuated since Tuesday night as a precaution, Payne said.