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The Valles Caldera National Preserve is considered one of the natural jewels of northern New Mexico, with its expansive meadows, mountain vistas and famous elk herds. It draws thousands of visitors each year and serves as the backdrop for the opening scene of A&E Network’s television series “Longmire.”
Now, hundreds of firefighters have replaced the film crews.
They’re trying to slow a wildfire that has charred more than 28 square miles of the picturesque property in just one week.
The Thompson Ridge Fire, sparked by a downed power line on May 30, has blackened the western side of the 89,000-acre preserve and came close to the preserve’s historic cabins and barns. Crews saved the buildings.
On the other side of the Santa Fe National Forest, crews were battling the Tres Lagunas Fire, which was burned more than 15 square miles north of Pecos.
Both fires have blanketed northern New Mexico in smoke for the past week. Fire officials said Friday evening that crews made progress during the day on both fires as they prepared for unfavorable weather — more hot, dry and windy conditions — to arrive over the weekend. They said both blazes were now 40 percent contained and evacuations for both remained in effect.
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