US Crews gain ground on New Mexico wildfire as Colorado blaze rages

05:50  05 june  2018
05:50  05 june  2018 Source:

Man burns American flag blanket, starts wildfire

  Man burns American flag blanket, starts wildfire "No matter your political views, we think it's safe to say we can all agree starting a wildfire is no good!" Grant County fire officials said.In a Facebook post, Grant County Fire District 13 said no structures were damaged in the blaze.

Plumes of smoke from a wildfire near Cimarron, N.M., rise in the background Friday, June 1, 2018. © Justin Hawkins via AP Plumes of smoke from a wildfire near Cimarron, N.M., rise in the background Friday, June 1, 2018.

June 4 (Reuters) - More than 1,000 evacuees from a wildfire in northern New Mexico were allowed to return home on Monday, a day after showers helped quell part of the blaze, but a second, smaller fire in neighboring Colorado continued to rage largely unchecked. 

The two fires, burning about 250 miles (400 km) apart in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest, have blackened nearly 39,000 acres combined since last Thursday, federal fire officials said.

Rain on Sunday helped firefighters in subduing the eastern flank of the so-called Ute Park Fire in New Mexico, leading authorities to lift evacuation orders for the 1,110 residents of Cimarron, a frontier-style town about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Santa Fe, the state capital.

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About 75 people from the small nearby community of Ute Park, near the Colorado border, remained under a mandatory evacuation on Monday, said Judith Dyess, spokeswoman for the multi-agency Southwest Incident Management Team managing the blaze.

"The rains came, and we're glad of it," Dyess said. "But it didn't do it." The fire's western edge was still burning out of control, she said.

About 36,000 acres (14,569 hectares) of drought-parched grasslands and timber have gone up in flames since the Ute Park blaze erupted on Thursday. By early Monday, fire crews had managed to carve containment lines around 23 percent of the blaze, up from zero containment on Sunday morning.

To the northeast in Durango, Colorado, a blaze dubbed the 416 Fire had spread across some 2,400 acres (971 hectares) by Monday evening. About 825 homes there remained under evacuation, according to La Plata County spokeswoman Megan Graham.

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The Colorado blaze, which began on Friday, stood at just 10-percent containment by Monday morning, officials said.

The causes of both fires were unknown and under investigation. No injuries or property losses were reported from either.

But the New Mexico fire brought some anxious moments late last week in Cimarron, the village's clerk-administrator, Shawn Jeffrey, told Reuters by telephone. She described Cimarron as an "Old West town" complete with a hotel that claims to be haunted.

Jeffrey was among the few who stayed behind to keep city hall open. The fire crept to within 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the village, she said.

"I'd say it was awfully scary," she said. "North of town, you could see a wall of red glow."

Cimarron lies about 140 miles (225 km) northeast of Albuquerque, the state's largest city. Ute Park is about 10 miles (16 km) west of Cimarron.

The nearby Santa Fe National Forest was closed to the public indefinitely on Friday in a rare measure prompted by the heightened fire risk from prolonged drought. (Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Editing by Frank McGurty, Sandra Maler and Paul Tait) 

Wildfires destroy Utah homes, prompt Colorado evacuations .
Authorities say a fast-moving brush fire destroyed eight homes in the Utah tourist town of Moab and more than 3,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming fled multiple wildfires scorching the drought-stricken U.S. West. Police said Wednesday that the Utah blaze burned in a neighborhood away from tourist-heavy areas in the town known for its proximity to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. A fire in a part of Colorado known for its ski resorts has forced the evacuation of more than 1,300 homes.The blaze in Moab, known for its dramatic red rocks, started in a wooded area Tuesday night and quickly spread to homes over less than a square mile (kilometer), Police Chief Jim Winder said.

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