UPDATE: Copters To Help Fight Wildfire; National Guard Securing Area

May 26, 2012

Crews fighting a wildfire in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico benefited from lighter winds Sunday, allowing them to focus on building protection lines on key flanks of the blaze and preparing to send water-dropping helicopters into the air for the first time in several days.

On Sunday, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez authorized the deployment of 15 National Guard soldiers to help secure areas around the fire.

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire continued to grow, burning more than 122,000 acres, or 191 square miles, by mid-day Sunday and was about two miles away from the privately owned ghost town of Mogollon in southwestern New Mexico.

Crews were building protection lines on the fire's western and northern edges and making preparations to send five helicopters into the air.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.