Dozens of oil containers burn in San Juan County prompting evacuations

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Dozens of oil storage containers continue to burn Tuesday in northwest New Mexico.

Several families have been evacuated as a result of that fire.

As residents in and around Nageezi wake up, they’re likely to see dark plumes of smoke as nearly 30 temporary storage tanks continue to burn.

According to WPX Energy — the oil company in charge of the field — the fire started Monday around 10:15 p.m.

The fire started at the site near County Road 7890 and Highway 550.

Witnesses say there were several explosions throughout the night, one by one as each storage tank caught fire. However, the company says those flames have weakened.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

KRQE News 13 was told that five to 10 agencies are responding to this fire, with nearly 50 emergency responders on hand.

A spokesman for the company says emergency responders have set up a half mile perimeter the five acre company site.

Three families have been displaced.

“We’ve evacuated family and have encouraged other members of the community who have concerns to go to the Nageezi Chapter House,” said Kelly Swan, company spokesperson.

So far, there are no reports of any injuries or property damage.

A spokesperson for the oil company says because of the intensity of the fire, crews are letting the fire cool off, which could take several more hours before they go in with suppressant foam.

As of Wednesday morning, officials say the blaze is 75 percent contained.

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