Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Worries Grow as Fire Risk Rises.(Journal North)

Byline: Wren Propp Journal Staff Writer

Northeastern New Mexico's mountains may still be peaked with white, but in the plains below, drought conditions rule, said the region's fire management officer from the state Forestry Division.

For example, firefighters battled a 1,000-acre brush fire near San Jon in Quay County a month ago, said Eugene Pino, who oversees fire management in the Las Vegas, N.M., district of the division.

More recently, a sparking power line high up in the Gallinas Watershed area north of Las Vegas could have caused a devastating blaze, if it had occurred a mile lower, he said.

"We were able to suppress it at a quarter-acre, because of a quick response and a high amount of moisture if it had started lower, it would have been a completely different outcome; it would have spread rapidly because of a lot less moisture," Pino said. …

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