- (Photo: Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
Two people are being questioned about the abandoned campfire that authorities believe started the devastating Arizona Wallow Fire, a spokesman said Tuesday evening.
The Arizona Wallow Fire became the largest in the state’s history on Tuesday having burned through 469,000 acres of woodland, and causing nearly 10,000 people to evacuate their homes.
Spokesman for the multiple agencies battling the fire Kelly Wood reported that investigations are now centered on two people, who were being questioned about the campfire that could have ignited the huge Wallow Fire. The identities of the two being questioned have not been released.
Wood explained that at this point in time he could not offer any more information, but that it was likely that the U.S. Forest Service would give more details about their investigation on Wednesday.
The Wallow Fire has so far destroyed 32 homes, as well as four rental cabins. It has also spread across the state border and fire crews have been fighting Tuesday to try and protect the small mountain town of Luna, N.M.
Wood also reported that residents of the town of Nutrioso will be allowed to return to their homes on Wednesday morning.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a grant to help New Mexico pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of fighting the fire, Fox News reported.
Near the Colorado border, a wildfire fanned by high winds has also forced hundreds of people from their homes as well, nearly doubling in size on Monday.
The wildfire near the New Mexico-Colorado started Sunday on the west side of Interstate 25, jumped to the east side that afternoon, and moved along the southeast toward Raton, Sugarite State Park and Bartlett Mesa.
Over 4,300 firefighters are working to contain the fire, which is still spreading rapidly due to dry weather, dense vegetation and strong winds.
Though about 18 percent of the fire’s perimeter was reported to be contained as of Tuesday, firefighters believe it could still persist for another few weeks.