Ute Park Fire torches more than 16,000 acres in New Mexico

Wildfire races through bone-dry forest in New Mexico

Some people in New Mexico barely outran the flames Friday as a wildfire raced through a bone-dry forest. Evacuations were ordered with the fire getting dangerously close to a small town.

Rick Archuleta and his son saw the harrowing scene as they drove through the Ute Park Fire, which has torched over 16,000 acres since Thursday.

Residents in Cimarron Village, about 150 miles east of Santa Fe, were ordered to evacuate as the fire is only three miles outside of town.

"When you have to evacuate you have to figure out what is the most important," a resident said.

Some neighbors said they will stick it out to the last minute.

"As long as it is still smoke, I am not worried about it but when you start to see fire, it is time to do something," another resident said.

New Mexico Wildfires
In this photo taken Thursday, May 31, 2018 and provided by Taosnews.com, officials confer as smoke rises from the Ute Park Fire in Ute Park, N.M. Morgan Timms/Taosnews.com via AP

Air tankers, helicopters and ground crews are working around the clock to put out the blaze. Officials say 12 buildings have been destroyed and more than 150 homes could be next.

Authorities say the conditions to fight the fire are bad. Low humidity, 80-degree temperatures and high winds are fueling the massive flames. 

The fire is zero percent contained and officials are investigating the cause.