The Latest: New Mexico fire balloons to 19 square miles

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in the Western U.S. (all times local):

10 a.m.

A fire burning in central New Mexico that has forced evacuations and destroyed structures has charred more than 19 square miles.

Fire information officers say infrared mapping overnight helped officials determine a more accurate picture of the area that has burned. They couldn’t immediately say how many buildings were destroyed or whether any were homes because crews haven’t been able to access the area.

In just two days, the fire ballooned in size amid persistent hot, dry and windy conditions. When the fire was first reported Tuesday, officials pegged it at several acres.

Its cause is under investigation.


9:05 a.m.

Authorities say a wildfire that’s burning out of control in rugged coastal canyons west of Santa Barbara is now posing little risk to a nearby oil processing facility.

Heavy winds had pushed the flames close to an ExxonMobil crude oil facility Wednesday and forced the evacuation of hundreds of campers and a handful of rural homes.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni says the danger to the facility is minimal Thursday. Several ranch homes were evacuated, but no structures have burned.

Zaniboni says a fleet of planes are dropping water and retardant and crews are taking advantage of calmer winds as they build lines around the blaze. It’s charred nearly 2 square miles of dry canyon brush, and there’s no containment.

The wildfire is one of several burning in Western states, including New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.


This story has been corrected to show that the ExxonMobil site is not a refinery, but a crude oil processing facility.