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Fire grows near Capitan Mountain

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Difficult terrain, copious amounts of plants fueling fire conditions, high afternoon winds and increased temperatures all contributed to growth in a fire near the Capitan Mountain wilderness Friday.

The New Mexico State Forestry Division stated at 8 p.m. Friday that firefighters had been unsuccessful in suppressing the fire southeast of Mangas Mountain that had reached 2,500 acres, up from 701 acres earlier in the day, and which was 0% contained.

No injuries had been reported.

“They have concentrated efforts on point protection of values at risk and scouted for indirect opportunities. Air support was grounded today, due to high winds. Control efforts have further been hampered by short range spotting,” according to a Friday update by the State Forest Division.

The New Mexico Fire Information website stated that because of fire growth to the east another 15 structures in the town of Arabella had been deemed threatened and one additional cabin had been verified as lost.

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So far two homes close to the perimeter have been evacuated. A Type II Incident Management Team will begin shadowing the Pecos Team of firefighters to learn tactics that are in place.

“The Fire has not crossed Highway 246, but, because of smoke impacts, it has been closed from Capitan to Roswell,” and home owners will be allowed in “case by case,” the website states. Because of a highly visible plume of smoke, additional information will be circulated throughout Roswell and Capitan.

Weather conditions are expected to change little today though.

“Cooler temperatures, lower winds are projected by Sunday,” the website states.

Absent any precipitation in the forest, the area will stay dry, according to the website.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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