New Mexico Wildfire Burns 57,500 Acres

Firefighters continue to strengthen lines and conduct burnout operations on a 57,500-acre fire burning in the Capitan Mountains.


CAPITAN, N.M. (AP) -- Firefighters continue to strengthen lines and conduct burnout operations on a 57,500-acre fire burning in the Capitan Mountains.

The Fire remained 80 percent contained late Thursday night.

``We continue to do burnouts when necessary. We're letting the fire behavior tell us how to handle it on the ground,'' fire information officer Margo Whitt said.

Winds forecast for Thursday afternoon weren't as strong as predicted and fire lines held, Whitt said. Interior pockets on the south side of the fire flared up with the low humidity, heat and winds creating more smoke.

The fire has been growing mainly along the western and southern edges.

The month-old fire was sparked by lightning six miles northeast of Capitan in south-central New Mexico.

The blaze - in the Lincoln National Forest - has burned 12 cabins along with mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, pinon and juniper trees in rugged terrain.

There were 226 people assigned to the fire, along with two helicopters and five engines.

The fire has cost more than $5.9 million, officials said.