Smoke and flames billowed toward the skyline Monday evening as a wildfire southeast of Escondida Lake forced the voluntary evacuation of local residents.
Officials from the New Mexico State Forestry Division said the blaze broke out at 5 p.m. on private land and burned 12 acres of area vegetation including cottonwood, salt cedar and brush.
The fire also burned two outbuildings and others were threatened Monday evening. Wind gusts of 35 to 40 miles per hour hampered local fire fighting efforts at times.
Wildfire Prevention and Communications Coordinator Wendy Mason said it is unknown as to how the fire started. She indicated, resources were in place to build and strengthen containment lines overnight on Monday.
On Tuesday, Mason noted in an e-mail, residents were back in their homes. However, structures remain threatened due to the pending high winds forecasted later in the day.
Multiple personnel from state forestry, local volunteer fire departments, Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service continue to work to contain the fire and mop up hot spots and strengthen containment lines throughout the day on Wednesday.