Regional
5:27 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Wildfires Grow In The Gila National Forest

 

Two lightning-sparked blazes have merged, providing a new challenge for fire crews in southwestern New Mexico.

Crews battling the Whitewater and Baldy fires on the Gila National Forest are now faced with controlling one massive fire Thursday that has burned through 110 square miles.

Fire information officer Sharma Hutchinson says firefighters' main concern is protecting the communities of Mogollon and Willow Creek from the 70,500-acre blaze.

So far, there is no containment.

Hutchinson says Mogollon is under voluntary evacuation. About seven residents in Willow Creek have already been evacuated.

Hutchinson says firefighters anticipate winds of up to 35 mph Thursday as they try to contain flames.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.