Raging wildfire forces New Mexico village to evacuate

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(Reuters) – A wildfire, stoked by low humidity and high temperatures, raged on Saturday in northern New Mexico, forcing residents in a remote community to flee their homes, fire officials said.

The so-called Ute Park Fire in Colfax County, New Mexico was zero percent contained after it doubled in size to more than 16,000 acres on Friday near Cimarron, a town of about 1,100 people, according to an alert on the New Mexico Fire Information Website.

About 300 homes were threatened in Cimarron, a southwestern village of quaint store fronts, where officials issued an mandatory evacuation on Friday.

“The Village of Cimarron is STILL safe,” said Cimarron Village Councilor Laura Gonzales on Facebook. “Continue to pray for our community.”

The fire burned about 14 outbuildings at a nearby Boy Scout ranch, where staff had been evacuated. No scouts were at the camp, the site said.

The cause of the fire, which began on Thursday, was unknown. Strong winds also stoked the blaze that burned grass and ponderosa pine in the Ute Park, just west of Cimarron and east of Taos.

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix typo in third paragraph)

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; editing by David Stamp

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