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Trail Dust: Prairie fires were among hazards faced by pioneers

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MARC SIMMONS

Trail Dust

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014 4:01 pm | Updated: 8:42 pm, Fri Feb 21, 2014.

Summer drought in New Mexico brings with it the usual crop of fires. For most people today, they are something remote, read about in newspapers and quickly forgotten. But on the frontier of the Old West, fires, especially prairie fires, were a dreaded phenomenon.

Let the tinder-dry open plains catch fire and, with a good wind to fan it, the blaze might rage for weeks and cover hundreds of miles. At night, the sky was lit by an angry red glow that could be seen for great distances by Indians and pioneers on the move.

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