Regional
4:55 pm
Wed June 16, 2010

UPDATE: Las Cruces Area Fire Spreads; Dripping Springs Closed

Las Cruces – Officials say a fire that began during a training exercise at Fort Bliss has consumed 1,500 acres and is likely to grow as firefighters wait for it to move past areas of unexploded ordnance.

The fire began Monday on the northwest corner of the Dona Ana Range. Officials haven't said exactly what sparked the blaze, which is not threatening any structures.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Loretta Benavidez said Wednesday that firefighters can't fight the flames on the ground because of rugged terrain and the explosion risk.

Crews are instead attacking the fire with air tankers and helicopters. The blaze is expected to spread two or three miles over the next couple days. Firefighters hope to stop it at New Mexico's Soledad Canyon.

Meanwhile, the Dripping Springs Natural Area is closed to visitors.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.