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Fires still burning in Southwest

Wildfires in Texas largely controlled while firefighters battle in NM, Az

PORTAL, AZ (UPI) | May 16, 2011

Firefighters in Arizona and New Mexico worked Monday to subdue large wildfires while blazes in Texas were mostly under control, officials said.

Arizona forestry officials said the Horseshoe Two Fire near Portal had scorched about 26,500 acres and was only 20 percent contained despite the efforts of about 630 firefighters backed by 24 fire engines, 16 water tenders and nine helicopters.

Some sparsely populated areas were evacuated or given warnings to leave if necessary.

In New Mexico, fire officials said 503 firefighters were battling the Miller Fire in the Gila National Forest. That blaze had consumed about 70,120 acres by Sunday afternoon and was only 20 percent contained.

Meanwhile, the Mayhill Fire, which had burned about 32,000 acres, was expected to be totally corralled by Tuesday.

Fire officials said the 195-acre Rio Wildfire about 9 miles southwest of Jemez Springs, N.M., was only 10 percent contained Monday.

In Texas, officials said no new large fires had been reported and three major blazes -- the Iron Mountain, Schwartz and Gage Holland fires, all in Brewster County -- were 90 percent to 98 percent contained after blackening a total of 177,371 acres.

But 200 of the state's 254 counties were still under burning bans because of the ongoing tinder-box conditions.

The Dickens Complex in Dickens County was contained Sunday at 89,200 acres.

Since fire season started Nov. 15, the Texas Forest Service and local fire departments have responded to 10,123 fires that have charred 2.6 million acres.

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