Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA –Fire has claimed one home in the Radium Springs area, northof Las Cruces, as firefighters continue to battle a wind-fueled brush fire thathas burned about 75 acres.
The fire, which broke out about 1 p.m., has shut down N.M. Highway 185 from mile marker 18 to 24 and has knocked out telephone service in the area.
Voluntary evacuations are under way along the same road from mile marker 15 to 20.
The latest indications are that the blaze has died down in some areas though it continues to threaten homes. Firefighters, using heavy earth-moving equipment, have set up precautionary fire lines. A plume of heavy smoke is still visible from parts of Las Cruces.
A shelter for evacuees has been established at the Radium Springs Volunteer Fire Department. The Red Cross is at the fire station and was preparing for about 100 evacuees though none have arrived as yet. The Radium Springs Community Center will be opening as an additional shelter.
The fire from I-25, just east of the Rincon exit. (Courtesy Photo / Steve Peerman)
The county’s Emergency Operations Center was activated about 1:45 p.m.
The exact size of the fire is unknown at this time. The National WeatherService reports current wind gusts in the Las Cruces area topping out at 30miles per hour and decreasing to as low
as 7 miles per hour later this evening.
The area has in recent weeks has seen little rain and moderate to strongwinds, a dangerous combination that could lead to wildfires and has prompted theweather service to issue several red flag warnings in southern New Mexico.