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Mon July 2, 2012
Carlsbad Wildfire Grows
A wildfire burning on the western border of Carlsbad Caverns National Park has grown to 5,000 acres.
Fire officials said Sunday that the blaze was sparked Friday by lightning in the Lincoln National Forest around the New Mexico-Texas state line.
A helicopter battling the declining Little Bear Fire was diverted Saturday to the new fire, which is at 15 percent containment.
The Horse Canyon Fire is near the area burned in the Last Chance Fire in spring in 2011.
Officials said the fire is about five miles southeast of Queen and about a mile from the Carlsbad Caverns National Park boundary.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
Summary: Rough, rocky terrain and windy conditions hampered suppression efforts for the fire resources yesterday. Aerial resources (helicopters and air tankers) were assisting ground resources with bucket drops and retardant along the fire perimeter to keep the fire from crossing containment lines. The crews utilized existing roads and trails trying to hold the fire in check. Multiple burnout operations were completed to tie in and strengthen containment lines. Structure protection was taken around Putman cabin late yesterday afternoon to preserve the historical cabin. Additional resources arrived on the fire last night and will continue to arrive today. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire with a 7 mile radius and a 10,500 foot ceiling.
Today’s weather: Temp: 85-88, RH: 20 % -30 %, Winds: East 10 – 15
Current Size: 5000 acres; fire mapped this evening which provided a more accurate acreage
Road Closures: Forest Road 527 at NM 137, Forest Road 527 at 69 (Cougar Road), 5530 at 5530A (North Well Road)
Area Closures: None
Values at Risk: The community of Queen continues to be threatened from the fire which is approximately 3 miles southeast of the community. There are no evacuation notices or alerts but all residents are cognizant of the situation. In addition to: a communications site for Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the historical Caverns Putnam Cabin. Protecting these sites is a high priority for the suppression activities.
Other values at risk include: watershed, grazing lands, livestock, and water supply lines.
Information on wildland fire smoke and your health can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at: https://nmtracking.unm.edu/eh_alerts/, or call the New Mexico statewide health line at