High winds posed a fresh challenge to firefighters battling wildfires on Sunday in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where authorities warned that powerful gusts could help the blazes spread quickly.
Authorities began evacuating the small New Mexico town of Luna Saturday afternoon as a precaution as winds continue to push a wildfire in northeastern Arizona.
Winds reaching 50 mph pushed flames down a mountain and into a heavily populated area Sunday. Fire crews were forced to abandon their lines and try to set up in new spots as the fire advanced, fire spokesman Bill Paxton said.
About 200 people live in Luna.
The U.S. Forest Service says the latest acreage numbers show the Wallow fire, one of several Southwestern fires, has burned 500,409 acres or 773 square miles, but is 38 percent contained.
The fire jumped lines along U.S. Highway 180, NBC News reported.
Earlier Saturday, evacuated residents of Alpine, Ariz., were allowed to return home.
U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, who owns a home in Greer, was touring the fire area Saturday along with SenOne of the largest wildfires in East Texas history was burning on about 14,000acres on Sunday, threatening dozens of homes and forcing the evacuation of several rural communities about an hour's drive north of Houston, officials said.
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