Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2008

Windy, dry conditions help wildfires burn

March 16, 2008

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— Wind-whipped wildfires burned across Texas and southeastern New Mexico on Friday, destroying five homes and prompting evacuation orders in one community.

The 40-square-mile blaze in Knowles, N.M., began as two grass fires but were rapidly spread by winds up to 45 mph, burning across the Texas state line, officials said. No injuries were reported.

"Knowles is the biggest concern right now," said Dan Ware, a New Mexico forestry division spokesman. An evacuation center was set up at Hobbs High School. Authorities did not immediately know what caused the fire.

In Texas, firefighters battled high winds to prevent flames from advancing on hundreds of buildings and two dozen oil and gas structures, officials said. The flames had destroyed at least one home.

No injuries were immediately reported as the Texas blazes had destroyed more than 8 square miles by early evening.

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