Hundreds Flee NM and CO Wildfires

Rapid spread threatens homes

Gila wildfire

View of Gila wildfire from Highway 180     Photo: U.S. Forest Service Gila National Forest

Wildfires spread rapidly over the weekend near parched mountain communities in New Mexico and Colorado, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes. Hotshot crews are struggling to build a fire line around a 54-square-mile blaze near Ruidoso in southern New Mexico as strong winds ground firefighting aircraft. The fire has destroyed 36 structures, including homes. A larger blaze has burned 450 square miles in southwestern New Mexico, making it the biggest fire in the state's history. Authorities in northern Colorado have sent 1,800 evacuation notices to Larimer County residents as crews battle a fire near Fort Collins that charred 31 square miles on Sunday and damaged 18 buildings. Officials in both states say that the growth of the fires is outpacing containment efforts. "These folks are doing everything they can, but Mother Nature is running this fire," said Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

Read more at The Boston Globe

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