A wildfire started by lightning on Saturday night burned more than 11,000 acres of grassland across Harding, Quay and Union counties.
The Britt fire threatened three structures on private property, including the McCarty Headquarters in Harding County, said Rosebud Fire Chief Bobby Casados.
“There were three separate fires reported Saturday night,” Casados said.
Casados said lightning started the fires, which were reported around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He said 14 fire departments responded to the three fires.
“Two fires near the McCarty ranch headquarters were extinguished in three hours,” Casados said.
Casados said winds of 15 to 20 mph spread the Britt Fire burned across the three counties consuming 11,507 acres and encompassing 24.4 miles.
“We received air support from the New Mexico State Forestry Division,” Casados said.
There were four air tankers that responded to the Britt fire, said Dan Ware, public information officer for the New Mexico State Forestry Department.
“The fire was located in an area which was hard for ground personnel to reach,” Ware said. “The sandy terrain made it difficult for the firefighters to establish a containment line. The tankers were brought in to give ground crews time to get into position.”
Ware said the tankers each dropped one load of a fire retardant mixture ahead of the fire. He said the mixture stops or slows the spread of the fire.
Casados said more than 100 firefighters battled the blazes, which were all extinguished by 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The crews responded quickly to combat the fires,” Casados said. “It takes very little for a fire to spread with the drought conditions we have been experiencing in our area over the past few months.”