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More residents may be allowed back into Ruidoso

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RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are hoping to allow more residents back into their homes as fire crews get a handle on a blaze burning outside the resort town of Ruidoso.

Officials said Friday the Little Bear fire, which has scorched 59 square miles and destroyed 224 homes in the Sierra Blanca range, has been 45 percent contained.

They say most communities could re-open by the start of the weekend.

Firefighters are continuing to build lines to contain the lightning-caused fire and will let a burnout operation develop if weather conditions permit it. Crews are also patrolling and mopping up parts of the wildfire's perimeter.