Nightly News | June 02, 2012
>>> burping in at least four western states tonight, but none bigger than the fire that's now covered hundreds of square miles across new mexico . today, it became the largest wildfire in that state's history and is now blanketing communities in dangerous smoke. miguel almaguer has our report.
>> reporter: on the front lines of new mexico 's massive wildfire, back breaking work.
>> long day. 16 hours.
>> reporter: here, hot shot crews clear miles of fire break. a stretch of bare land that could stop oncoming flames from spreading. the largest wildfire burning in the country, the biggest in new mexico state history, has charred more than a quarter million acres in the gila national forest . sparked by lightening two and a half weeks ago, the so-called whitewater-baldy fire remains out of control. plumes of billowing smoke which can be seen for miles are slowing the air attack . this, as flames hopscotch in every direction. in the historic mining town , firefighters have laid seven miles of hoses, an intracat system of sprinklers to protect this mountain community. evacuations here are mandatory. tom miller refuses to leave.
>> i wake up and the first thing i do, i see flames. every night, it gets a little closer.
>> reporter: wildfires in utah, colorado and arizona have devoured tens of thousands of acres, but new mexico 's fire with its isolated, rugged terrain, is among the toughest to fight.
>> this fire will probably burn until we get our monsoon rains, mid-july.
>> reporter: with a blaze that could burn for months, the back breaking work could continue for weeks. tonight, crews draw a line in the sand while the moving monster gets closer and closer. crews say this fire is roughly 15% contained, but the bad news, those nasty winds gusting upwards of 50 miles per hour are going to fan flames all night.