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Arizona Fire Sends Smoke to Albuquerque

New Mexico has its own blazes to worry about
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 9, 2021 7:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – A wildfire in Arizona that had neighboring New Mexico breathing in smoke was one of several blazes scorching the drought-stricken Southwest, signaling what could be a devastating summer. Residents in New Mexico's largest city woke up Wednesday shrouded again in smoke from the Arizona fires, the AP reports. The yellow haze stretched up the Rio Grande Valley and obscured views of the mountain ranges surrounding Albuquerque. Firefighters in Superior, Arizona, a former mining town about 60 miles east of Phoenix, however, made significant progress overnight on the so-called Telegraph fire. They contained 21% of the fire's perimeter, up from zero the night before, officials said. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration for that fire and another several miles east. The declaration will make up to $400,000 available for response efforts.

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More than 750 firefighters conducted burnout operations through the night. Crews focused on establishing a fire break along US 60 and in the Pinal Mountains. The blaze has burned more than 125 square miles in Pinal and Gila counties. It was first reported Friday and is believed to be human-caused. Thousands of residents have been stuck in various stages of the evacuation process. At least 2,500 homes in Gila County have been evacuated, with twice that number set to go with bags packed, county emergency officials said. Hundreds more also were cleared from their homes in a community in Pinal County. Besides enduring smoke from Arizona fires, New Mexico is dealing with its own blazes, including one sparked by lightning three weeks ago in the Gila National Forest in the western part of the state. It has charred more than 71 square miles and has forced the closure of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and much of the surrounding wilderness.

(Read more wildfires stories.)

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