Abandoned Campfire Blamed for Wildfire Wear Blanco

Jun 21, 2012

Investigators say an illegal abandoned campfire caused a wildfire this week in northwestern New Mexico that charred more than 350 acres and destroyed five homes and 12 outbuildings.

Officials with the New Mexico State Forestry and San Juan County say the CR 4901 fire near the community of Blanco burned 352 acres of land operated by the state Game and Fish Department.

Investigators found evidence of the abandoned campfire along the San Juan River bosque near tall, dry vegetation.

High winds in the area quickly pushed the fire into taller salt cedar, olive and cottonwood trees and then on to nearby homes.

Authorities have yet to identify any suspects. Forestry officials say those responsible for the fire could face a $1,000 fine and/or 364 days in jail if convicted.