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New Mexico governor seeking US disaster status for wildfire

Spring Wildfires
Thomas Peipert/AP
/
AP
A fire warning sign is pictured in Las Vegas, N.M., on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Flames raced across more of New Mexico's pine-covered mountainsides, Tuesday, May 3, 2030, charring more than 217 square miles over the last several weeks. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

By CEDAR ATTANASIO and SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is asking President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scramble to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the U.S. from destroying more homes. The governor signed a request for a presidential disaster declaration Tuesday, while fire managers predicted the battle to protect towns in the state's northeast pine forests and mountains would become more intense later in the week. The fire is the result of two blazes that merged, one of which was a prescribed fire that jumped containment lines. About 15,500 homes have been evacuated and around 170 homes have been destroyed, but officials expect that number to grow.