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Blaze was reported in mid-afternoon and burned 40-50 acres
BLOOMFIELD — A large brush fire on the south side of Bloomfield was contained this evening.
Dispatchers received reports of a brush fire around 3:46 p.m. in the swamp area east of the Sonya's Cooking U.S.A. restaurant located at 2001 Bloomfield Highway.
Bloomfield Fire Chief John Mohler said the fire was contained around 7:30 p.m.
The brush fire burned about 40 to 50 acres with no injuries and no structure fires, San Juan County Fire Chief Craig Daughtery said.
Firefighters from the Bloomfield and Farmington fire departments, along with multiple San Juan County Fire Department districts, responded to the brush fire.
A total of 45 firefighters and 22 apparatuses were deployed to the fire.
The brush fire occurred in the area east of U.S. Highway 550 and south of West Piñon Street. There was a lot of vegetation built up in the area, Mohler said.
Homes south of Ash Street were evacuated around 4:17 p.m. and people were being advised to stay north of Ash Street, according to a post on the Bloomfield Police Department Facebook page.
The residents were allowed to return to their homes around 6:40 p.m.
Northbound traffic on U.S. Highway 550 was restricted to one lane near the brush fire.
Part of the brush fire made its way near a residence on the south side of West Piñon Street near the intersection of West Piñon Street and South Fourth Street.
Firefighters kept the flames from the south side and west side of the residence.
Aztec resident Daniel Zapata stood on the sidewalk on the north side of West Piñon Street and filmed firefighters on his smartphone as they battled the blaze near the residence.
He heard on a police scanner that a field at Chris Keffalos Park on South 1st Street had caught fire and wanted to check on the damage, since he coaches a baseball team. The grass in one of the baseball fields at Chris Keffalos Park did catch fire, but nothing else was burned, according to Mohler.
"It's kind of wild, man, it's kind of wild," Zapata said when asked about the fire.
The blaze continued to burn away from the residence into a field west of the house.
Firefighters were able to guide the fire away from trailers near the intersection of South Fourth Street and West Ash Avenue.
There was no word on how the fire started, but Daughtery believed it was human caused.
He added the windy conditions before a cold front and rain arrived late this afternoon caused the fire to spread quickly.
The lack of moisture and relatively warm winter has Daughtery concerned about the upcoming fire season.
"For this kind of fire behavior to be happening in mid-January is unheard of," Daughtery said. "Normally, there would be snow out there."
He reminded residents that even though it is winter, fire danger is a concern, and they should be cautious when doing things like throwing away ashes or burning weeds.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.
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