New Mexico fire forces evacuation near ghost town


By Russell Contreras, AP

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Residents near a privately owned New Mexico ghost town were ordered Saturday to evacuate as a blaze in the Gila National Forest continued to burn erratically.

Fire officials in New Mexico said Saturday that the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has shrunk slightly to 82,000 acres (33,185 hectares) but is still zero percent contained because of weather conditions.

The evacuation of Mogollon, a privately owned ghost town, was ordered due to extreme wind around the southwestern New Mexico fire. Four helicopters and more than 500 firefighters from around the state were on hand to fight the blaze but still had to contend with “extreme conditions.”

Cities, as far away as Albuquerque, remained under a health alert until Sunday afternoon due to smoke from the fire, which has spread across the state. State officials were warning residents to limit outdoor activities on the Memorial Day holiday weekend, especially if smoke was visible.