A wildfire that has burned 265 square miles of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico is now burning across 170,000 acres. That makes it the biggest wildfire in state history.
As the AP reports, this fire eclipses a blaze last year that burned 159,593 acres in Las Conchas and threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The wire service adds that about a dozen homes were destroyed and nearby towns have been evacuated. Two fires were started by lightning on May 9 and May 16. They eventually merged to become one massive fire.
The Christian Science Monitor reports:
"Fire officials say the potential for the fire's growth remains high. The Whitewater-Baldy fire is burning in the Gila National Forest in the southwest corner of the state, feeding on expanses of Ponderosa pine, junipers, grasses, and large areas of dead and downed trees. Extremely rugged terrain is making it difficult to control the blaze.
"The fire, some 15 miles east of Glenwood, N.M., is threatening Mongollon, a mining town founded in the 1880s and now on the National Resigter of Historic Places. Residents in the area were evacuated over the weekend. The blaze also destroyed several homes in Willow Creek, which had been evacuated."