USA — The brush fire burning on the Doña Ana training range increased by 50 percent overnight, Fort Bliss officials said today.
The fire had burned about 1,000 acres Tuesday. By this morning it had burned 1,500 acres. It is near Soledad Canyon, a remote part of the range that is commonly used for target practice, officials said.
Crews from the Fort Bliss and White Sands fire departments and the Bureau of Land Management continued to fight the fire, officials said.
The crews are using five air tankers, helicopter support and Interagency Hot Shot Crews to attack the fire, officials said.
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A large brush fire on Fort Bliss land sent smoke over the southern end of the Organ Mountains visible throughout the Las Cruces area and White Sands Missile Range.
The fire on Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana training range burned about 1,000 acres but posed no threat, said Fort Bliss spokeswoman Jean Offutt.
The fire, on the northernmost part of the range, started in an area used for target practice as soldiers conducted a live-fire training exercise, Offutt said. An official cause has not been determined, she said.
The brush fire is on a remote part of the range near Soledad Canyon.
The few structures in the area are several miles away,
U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials were providing spotter aircraft and dumping slurry on the fire to contain it on Fort Bliss property.
About 50 Fort Bliss soldiers were in the area and available to help firefighters, Offutt said. The fact that unexploded ordnance is in the area has complicated efforts to reach the scene by ground.
Crews were trying to gain access to the burn, but the unexploded ordnance as well as closed fences were hampering efforts, according to Louis Bevacqua, public contact representative for the Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces.
Crews from the BLM, White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss worked to reach the burn area during the day , according to Doña Ana County officials.
Large amounts of smoke were visible throughout the Las Cruces area. The fire was on Fort Bliss property on the eastern slopes of the mountains.
No resources had been requested from Doña Ana County.