ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A large blaze charring through southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest grew to 47 square miles Wednesday, and could expand to another nine if wind gust reach 35 miles per hour as expected.

Coupled with lower humidity and strong wind, the Silver Fire may rage through more acreage throughout the week spilling smoke into nearby towns and creating more headaches for firefighters, officials said.

More than 500 crew members are scheduled to continue indirect line construction on the west flank of the fire along existing trails and mop up and patrol in the Kingston and Royal John Mine area.

An evacuation order remains in effect for the historic mining town of Kingston, where crew worked to building protections to protect structures.

We have selected areas for fire- line construction along roads, topography breaks, and vegetative changes between pine forests and pinon-juniper woodlands that will provide us the greatest probability of success in fire containment,' Incident Commander Matt Reidy said.

Smoke from the ranging blaze was seen from more than 100 miles away on Tuesday.

Officials have temporarily banned campfires and other outdoor burning on the forest, Bureau of Land Management property, state-owned land and private property in Grant County.

Meanwhile, in the northern part of the state, crews continued to battle a 5.5-square-mile wildfire in the Pecos Wilderness.

The fire, started by lightning, is burning six miles southeast of Borrego Mesa, deep in the wilderness.


No structures are currently threatened.

The steep, remote terrain where the fire is burning, the density of fuels and weather have made it unsafe for firefighters to try and reach the blaze and fight it from the ground, said John Truett, the operations section chief with the Type 1 National Incident Management team working on the Jaroso Fire.