Image: Massive Arizona Wildfire Spreads, Threatening Nearby Towns
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

TODAY   |  June 10, 2011

Arizona wildfire approaches New Mexico

The major wildfire in eastern Arizona continues to burn out of control, and the flames are now threatening to cross into New Mexico. NBC’s George Lewis reports.

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>> with the out of control wildfire in arizona where flames are threatening to cross into new mexico . nbc's george lewis joins us from arizona . good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. the governors of arizona and new mexico put national guard units on stand-by to assist in the fire zones. this as 22 homes have been burned. the biggest concern is the mountain retreat of greer. firefighters are setting back fires and trying to construct barriers to save the community. six structures were burned.

>> the winds are out of the west.

>> reporter: firefighters expect more favorable wind conditions as heavy gusts that were driving the fire have died down. 16 helicopters have been filling up with water to douse the flames. they are joined by a dc- 10 tanker known as the supersoaker. 11,000 people in arizona have been displaced from their homes. 200 miles of highway are shut down. elsewhere, power lines from the palo verde nuclear plant near phoenix are of concern. the lines run through the fire shown in this nasa photo. if they are damageded hundreds of thousands of people in texas and new mexico could be subjected to rolling blackouts . the head of the u.s. forest service says because of years of drought in the west, fires like this one are becoming more common.

>> almost every year we have a fire of this significance. definitely different than what we used to see 10, 15 years ago.

>> reporter: he warns the battle to contain the fire may take several more weeks. some good news at an evacuation center thursday night. some were told they might be able to return home as early as tomorrow. that brought a big round of applause. natalie?