New Mexico wildfire only 5-percent contained after fifth day burning

CHILILI, N.M. (KRQE) – On Saturday afternoon, from the north near Chilili, looking south the west side of the fire ground looked mostly quiet in the afternoon as Sky News 13 flew over the Dog Head Fire.

The dog head fire stayed fairly subdued for the first half of the day, but the afternoon brought some new flare-ups and more efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air to save homes.

Along the east flank paralleling New Mexico 337 was where several intense flareups began runs eastward through unburned areas.

As the flames moved eastward, the number of homes increases rapidly along 337.

Air tankers were again directed to create and fortify thick lines of fire retardant between the homes and the advancing fire. Helicopters continued to hit hotspots and also protect structures.

While the flames can get extremely intense, on Saturday they were moving in fairly limited paths not across wide fronts, often they are surrounded by areas already burned.

As has been the case all week, aircraft are teamed with ground crews who use dozers and hand tools who cut firebreaks through the often thick forest.

A slight drama in the sky Friday, as one of the air tankers had a mechanical problem with and engine and had to shut it down while approaching the fire.

The crew was able to skillfully maneuver into an open area and drop the retardant to lighten the aircraft enough to get back safely through the mountains to Albuquerque.

Officials say the fire is now at 5 percent containment Saturday.

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