Wildfire rages near Raton

Photo Credit:

Update Tuesday 11:30a RATON, N.M. (AP) - The wildfire raging near Raton has grown to 24,000 acres, fire officials say, and a separate fire in the southern part of the state is threatening the Carlsbad Caverns visitors center and housing.

New Mexico States Forestry spokesman Dan Ware says new mapping shows the track fire near Raton is about four times the 6,000 acres that was estimated to be burning yesterday and the fire has crossed the border into Colorado.

It's burning on both sides of Interstate 25 and the highway between Raton and Trinidad, Colo. remains closed.

The fire is threatening about 300 structures near Raton. So far, Ware said seven structures have been destroyed.

Gov. Susana Martinez plans to visit Raton Tuesday.

In southern New Mexico, the Loop Fire is burning about 1,500 acres near Carlsbad Caverns.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Click here to watch impressive LIVE video of the fire burning near Raton. Click "view live road conditions" at the top and scroll down to Raton to see the video.

A raging wildfire near the New Mexico-Colorado border has forced the closure of Interstate 25 and fire officials say about 200 homes and businesses are being threatened.

State forestry spokesman Dan Ware says the Track Fire has picked up considerably since settling down overnight. He describes it as "pretty crazy," saying the wind was expected to pick up Monday afternoon.

Crews have been feverishly trying to build dozer lines to keep the flames out of the community's watershed. Crews are also working on structure protection.

The fire has charred about 2,700 acres in mostly pinon and juniper.

Ware says no structures have been lost.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a grant to help New Mexico pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of fighting the fire.