Photographs by Mark Wilson / AP
Smoke billows from the Little Bear fire in southeastern New Mexico near Ruidoso, Saturday, June 9, 2012. Spanning only a few acres on Wednesday, the Little Bear fire began to grow Friday as spot fires formed outside established fire lines due to windy conditions. By Saturday morning, about 10,000 acres had been charred northwest of the mountain community of Ruidoso.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Firefighters in Colorado and New Mexico are battling wildfires that are moving fast through parched forests, forcing scores of evacuations and destroying or damaging numerous structures.
A blaze in northern Colorado was first reported Saturday morning and had grown to about 8,000 acres by mid-evening, while a fire in southern New Mexico's Lincoln National Forest was considered minor until expanding Friday and Saturday to 10,000 acres.
Both fires have damaged property and forced numerous evacuations, but officials haven't yet released specific figures on the numbers who fled.
The wildfire in the mountainous Paradise Park area, about 25 miles northwest of Fort Collins, prompted several dozen evacuation orders.
Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokesman John Schulz said the fire expanded rapidly during the late afternoon and evening and by Saturday night, residents living along several roads in the region had been ordered to evacuate and many more were warned that they might have to flee. An evacuation center has been set up at a Laporte middle school.
Officials didn't specify how many residents had evacuated but said they had sent out 800 emergency notifications alerting people to the fire and the possibility that might have to flee.
A lightning-sparked blaze in New Mexico jumped its containment lines raced through thick conifer forest, and fire managers said 20 structures were damaged or destroyed.
Spanning only a few acres on Wednesday, the Little Bear fire began to grow Friday as spot fires formed outside established fire lines due to windy conditions. By Saturday morning, about 10,000 acres had been charred northwest of the mountain community of Ruidoso.