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Wildfire torching New Mexico pine forests keeps growing

Spring Wildfires New Mexico
Posted at 12:27 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 15:27:06-04

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A wildfire near a small northeastern New Mexico community in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that is the biggest fire in the U.S. is expected to keep growing.

Authorities say the fire near the town of Las Vegas could be fanned Tuesday by wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour that could last through the weekend.

"A strike team of mutual aid structure engines requested by San Miguel County and the City of Las Vegas will be working in cooperation with the team to provide protection for the city," fire officials said.

The blaze has charred 228 square miles, burned at least 172 homes and prompted some Las Vegas residents to leave.

Firefighting crews are battling on several fronts to prevent the fire from pushing into more populated areas.

The fire is a result of two wildfires merging in April. It could become one of the largest in New Mexico’s recorded history. It is only 20% contained.