Terrain Complicates Firefighting Effort On New Mexico Fire

Steep, rugged terrain in the Cibola National Forest complicated firefighters' efforts Saturday to build fire lines around a 200-acre blaze in the mountains near Datil.

But the Davenport Fire was not threatening any structures, said Cibola National Forest spokeswoman Karen Takai.

Fire officials also had five small fires to worry about as lightning sparked by thunderstorms started fires ranging in size from a quarter-acre to a half-acre, Takai said.

``It's looking good so far,'' she said.

The Davenport Fire, sparked by lightning Friday, was driven more by the steep terrain than by winds Saturday, she said.

More than 120 firefighters were assigned to the blaze with help from six engines, four helicopters, two single-engine air tankers and two military air tankers.

An air tanker on Friday dropped fire retardant between the flames and a summer camp for children.

The fire was burning on a ridge above the valley where Mohave Academy is located. The 35 children who were attending the camp were on a field trip when the blaze started, and the remaining employees at the camp evacuated as a precaution.

Cibola officials also monitored two smaller fires sparked Friday by lightning in the same region of the forest, although Takai said Saturday neither had much potential for growth.

In San Juan County, a brush fire Friday afternoon in a rural area east of Farmington destroyed a mobile home and burned nearly 25 acres before crews slowed it down. The blaze was contained by Saturday.

With the threat of wildfire looming, campfire, smoking and forest access restrictions have been posted across the state. But rangers are still finding abandoned campfires within the forests around Santa Fe.

``It's just plain stupidity,'' said Alan Korpinen, patrol captain of the Cibola, Carson and Santa Fe national forests.

Forest rangers have cited about 15 people for being in off-limits areas since partial closures of the Santa Fe National Forest began just over a week ago, Korpinen said.

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