The Latest: Firefighters battle blaze in eastern New Mexico

Apr 10, 2019

The Latest: Firefighters battle blaze in eastern New MexicoALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico spring winds (all times local):4:25 p.m.Firefighters in eastern New Mexico are dealing with strong winds as they battle a grass fire that has prompted some evacuations.Officials with the nearby city of Portales say two shelters have been set up as residents in rural areas west of the community have been encouraged to evacuate.There was no immediate word about the cause of the fire.Forecasters with the National Weather Service reported top gusts in the area of 75 mph (121 kph), saying smoke from the fire was making for hazy conditions as far away as Amarillo, Texas.___11:20 a.m.Warnings for winds that forecasters say are expected to be dangerous for travel blanketed most of New Mexico on Wednesday.The National Weather Service says the winds will make travel very difficult on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25, particularly for high-profile vehicles, and cause loose objects to become airborne.Forecasters also say the winds of up to 45 mph (72.42 kph) and gusts of up to 75 mph (121 kph) will combine with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions.Albuquerque officials issued a health alert because of blowing dust and said people with respiratory conditions should limit outdoor activity.In southern New Mexico, the White Sands Missile Range was closed because of high winds, with only essential personnel told to report to work.