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Fire crews are battling fires in both the Lincoln and Gila National Forest Friday afternoon. The first fire, named the Bensen Fire, was reported around 2:00 pm. Thursday afternoon, and the second, named the Elkhorn Fire was also reported Thursday.
The US Forest Service reports that the Elkhorn Fire was detected on the Reserve Ranger District of the Gila National Forest and now encompasses approximately 175 acres, 12 miles northeast of Reserve near Piney Park.
Twelve personnel and a helicopter from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest are already assigned to the Elkhorn Fire, but several additional crews have been ordered. The fire is reportedly in a steep, rugged terrain, which is making battling the blaze difficult for crews. Smoke will be visible on Highway 32, in Kerr Canyon and along Apache Creek.
At last report, the Bensen Fire, which is located in Lincoln County 3 miles west of Sunspot Observatory, 9 miles south of High Rolls and 20 miles southwest of Cloudcroft had burned 96 acres in the Lincoln National Forest.
There are over 100 personnel assigned to the Bensen fire at this time, at this time there is no immediate threat to structures. Dog Canyon Trail and West Side Road are closed at this time.
Low humidity and increasing wind gusts are a concern for firefighters attempting to battle both blazes.
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