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Wildfire at Big Bend National Park grows to more than 860 acres

About 70 firefighters, including members of the Diablos from across the border in Mexico, were battling the blaze with help from a helicopter team.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. April 12: Revised throughout to include additional information.

A wildfire in Big Bend National Park had grown to more than 860 acres Monday.

The fire started about 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the park’s South Rim in the Chisos Mountains, park officials said. Wind pushed the flames to the cliff edge in a remote location accessible only by a three- to four-hour hike up steep trails.

About 70 firefighters, including members of the Diablos from across the border in Mexico, were battling the blaze with help from a helicopter team.

The cause of the fire was unknown but it appeared to have been sparked near a backcountry campsite, officials said.

Officials closed backcountry trails and backpacking sites in the Chisos Mountains until further notice.

The fire reached Emory Peak on Saturday, and officials said Monday that aerial views of the park showed “a patchy mosaic of scorched, burned, slightly singed, and untouched areas.” Thick smoke could be seen in much of the park, officials said.

“While this is a growing incident, fire in the high Chisos is not unexpected nor a tragedy,” park Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said.

Forecasts for the coming days call for cooler, more humid weather, officials said.

“Our foremost objective is to protect human safety, and as part of that, we’re working to keep the fire out of the Basin,” Krumenaker said. “I’m optimistic, and we ask that park visitors understand that they will likely be inconvenienced.”

Kelli Smith, Breaking News Reporter. Kelli covers breaking news at The Dallas Morning News. She is a native of El Paso, Texas, and a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Before joining staff, she reported for The Chicago Tribune and KTSM, the NBC affiliate in El Paso.

kelli.smith@dallasnews.com @KelliSmithNews

Tom Steele, Breaking News Producer. Tom has covered breaking news for The Dallas Morning News since 2016. He has worked in a number of other capacities for The News since 2007, and he was previously a copy editor at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. He has degrees in journalism and economics from Lehigh University.

tsteele@dallasnews.com tomsteele
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