1,200 Flee New Mexico Fire

From Associated Press

Firefighters ordered the evacuation of hundreds of homes in four subdivisions Saturday as a 700-acre wildfire grew quickly in whipping winds.

About 100 National Guard troops from Roswell were placed on emergency active duty Saturday to provide security, water and electric generators in the fire-besieged community, Guard spokesman Tom Koch said.

"Their primary function is to provide security," Koch said.

Tomas Chavez, director of emergency operations in Ruidoso, said about 1,200 people had evacuated their homes. Water sufficient for 2,000 evacuees was being ordered, Koch said.

Electrical generation was needed particularly at the airport, Koch said, where ground crews were unable to pump fire retardant liquid into slurry bombers. Power outages occurred elsewhere in Ruidoso, as well.

"The fire burned through an area where the power lines were, so power is down in the town," said Tom Gorman, spokesman for the state Emergency Operations Center.

More than 300 firefighters battled the blaze. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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