Many NM residents allowed home

Two-week old wildfire burned 59 homes across 21 square miles

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. | May 4, 2008

Hundreds of residents of two towns southeast of here were allowed home Sunday after a wildfire that burned at least 59 homes was partially contained.

Most of the evacuees lived in or near the towns of Tajique and Torreon in the Manzano Mountains. Those who returned home Sunday were in areas that the fires had not scorched. Residents living west of Torreon were still not allowed home.

The fire, which has been burning since April 15, was nearly 95 percent contained last week but high winds blew the flames over containment lines and into residential areas forcing 400 people from their homes.

By Sunday, the blaze had consumed approximately 21 square miles of land.

New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson declared Torrance County a disaster area Friday as a result of the fire damage.

Firefighters in New Mexico are still fighting a fire on Native American land in the southern part of the state. The residents of more than 70 homes on the Mescalero Apache reservation were evacuated on Thursday.

And near Los Angeles, fire officials were extinguishing the last embers of a fire near Sierra Madre that had forced 1,000 people from their homes for several days last week.

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