RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - Sandoval County Fire investigators say they've gathered new evidence that may help figure out who's responsible for a string of fires that sparked northwest of Rio Rancho on Friday morning.
Rio Rancho Fire & Rescue responded to the fires starting around 6:30 a.m. on Friday. Two vacant mobile homes were completely destroyed and three piles of trash were found on fire. Sandoval County is now leading the investigation with the help of the New Mexico State Fire Marshals Office and New Mexico State Forestry.
Fire investigators say they've found evidence showing what may have caused the flames.
"The investigator found some pieces of information there that will help to determine if there's an incendiary device or if flammable liquids were used at location," said Gregg Kotila, deputy fire chief for Sandoval County Fire.
While there are no suspects, investigators say they've found tire tracks linking at least three of the five fires to the same vehicle. Kotila says it may bring some solid leads.
"It looks like there's good potential for at least one person involved with most of it," said Kotila.
Investigators are also reviewing nearby main road surveillance cameras. Witnesses say they saw cars leaving the area Friday morning.
"We're going to rely heavily on their observations in helping to deal with this," said Kotila.
While investigation continues New Mexico State Forestry's eyes are also watching. Two three-man crews spent Saturday patrolling the Sandia Foothills intro Tijeras, Canyon Estates, Placitas and more locations, looking for any signs of smoke or people in the wilderness.
"It's really warm, it's very windy, so again the potential for a small fire to become a very big fire in a short amount of time is very real," said Dan Ware, a spokesman for New Mexico State Forestry.
Fire crews didn't find any problems on Saturday's search. Patrols will continue through the weekend and as needed. State Forestry fire officials say the public also needs to do their part by obeying the rules in forested areas and keeping a close eye out for fires.
"If we can count on the folks who live and recreate in this area to do their part, that's going to make our job in protecting the community a lot easier," said Ware.
Sandoval County fire investigators are asking residents to watch for unknown vehicles in their neighborhoods and to watch for people hanging out in vacant properties. Meanwhile, state forestry officials are also looking at other connections to three fires that sparked near La Luz Trail and two more that sparked in the Sandia Foothills near Tramway on Thursday night.
The Sandoval County sheriff's sergeant hit while investigating a weather related crash remains in critical condition.
John Smith with your forecast and Kim Vallez with your afternoon headlines.
A 21-year-old man faces nine years in prison for killing his father.
Albuquerque fire crews are taking a closer look at an overnight fire.
Officials say the Bernalillo County Treasurer Office is closed Friday after a suspicious substance was found in the office.
One thing that this winter weather can really do is help get you in that holiday spirit.