BELLVUE, Colorado (AP) — Authorities on Monday were ramping up the fight against large wildfires burning out of control in northern Colorado and southern New Mexico.
Ten air tankers and 400 firefighters were at a fire burning nearly 60 square miles (155 square kilometers) in a mountainous area. Fire authorities have conceded they could use more help but haven't said what they need.
One person remains missing in the Colorado fire, which has spread smoke as far as central Nebraska, western Kansas and Texas.
In New Mexico, fire managers hoped to use a break in the weather to fight a 54-square-mile (140-square-kilometer) blaze near Ruidoso from the air. Winds grounded aircraft there Sunday. Residents in Ruidoso were told to prepare to evacuate if conditions worsen.
Hundreds of people have evacuated their homes and dozens of buildings have been destroyed as the fires spread rapidly, authorities said.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced late Sunday that she was ordering an additional 100 National Guard troops to assist with evacuations. They will be dispatched to shelters or highways where people have to be turned back, Ruidoso spokeswoman Kerry Gladden said.
Military helicopters were also deployed to drop water at both fires in addition to air tankers dropping slurry.
Dan Ware, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Forestry Division, said the number of Ruidoso evacuees was in the hundreds, but he didn't have an exact figure. The nearby community of Capitan and others also could face evacuation, said Karen Takai, a spokeswoman for the Ruidoso fire crews.
Both fires were dwarfed by a massive blaze in southwest New Mexico — the largest in the state's history — that has charred 435 square miles (1,126 square kilometers) of wilderness forest since mid-May. But the smaller blazes were especially concerning because they were closer to more populated areas.
Elsewhere Monday, firefighters battled a wildfire that blackened 6 square miles (15 square kilometers) in Wyoming's Guernsey State Park and forced the evacuation of hundreds of campers and visitors.
Evacuation notices were sent in Colorado to nearly 1,800 phone numbers, but it wasn't clear how many residents had to leave.
Kathie Walter and her husband helped friends several miles (kilometers) away evacuate from the Colorado fire on Saturday. When they got home, they were surprised to get a call warning them to be ready to evacuate.
Walter didn't want to wait.
"Smoke was coming in hard. We could not see flames or orange or black smoke. But we didn't need to see anymore. We just said 'Hey, let's get out of here,'" she said.
They left with their five cats and two dogs, getting a head start. After a wildfire in the area last year, they left two suitcases packed in their garage.
Authorities say they're competing for resources that have been diluted by several wildfires across the West. The U.S. Forest Service added four tankers, including two from Canada, to its firefighting fleet last week following the crash of a tanker that killed two pilots at a southern Utah wildfire.
Associated Press writers Thomas Peipert in Denver and Amanda Lee Myers in Phoenix contributed to this report.