Wildfire in New Mexico's Jemez Mountains nearly doubles

June 5, 2013 at 9:38 AM
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ALBUQUERQUE, June 5 (UPI) -- Warm temperatures and low humidity caused the Thompson Ridge wildfire in New Mexico's Jemez Mountains to nearly double in one day, officials said.

The fire, which was started Friday when a tree touched a power line on private land, had burned 4,450 acres as of Tuesday morning. By Tuesday night, that number increased to 7,400 acres, the Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday.

Evacuation orders for 40 to 50 homes in Thompson Valley, Rancho de la Cueva and Elk Valley remained in effect.

Fire officials said the Tres Lagunas fire in the Santa Fe National Forest and Pecos Wilderness was 15 percent contained by Tuesday night. The fire had consumed 9,000 acres of land since it was sparked Thursday by a downed power line.

Firefighters are concerned the Tres Lagunas fire will reach the Gaillinas River watershed, which is the source of about 90 percent of the water supply for Las Vegas.

The state Environment Department issued a smoke advisory Tuesday for Pecos, Jemez, Springs and La Cueva, N.M.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said a tree falling onto power lines was the cause of the Bluebell Fire, which erupted Monday near Conifer, Colo.

The fire initially prompted the evacuation of 100 homes. That order has since been lifted, The Denver Post reported.

Fire officials said the fire is fully contained but still burning within the perimeter.

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