- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

BOSQUE DEL APACHE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, N.M. (AP) - Firefighters are making progress against a blaze that has charred more than a square mile at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.

Officials say the fire was 50 percent contained Wednesday thanks to work done on the west side of the Rio Grande. There are still active flames on the east side of the river that are keeping crews busy.

Chris Leeser with the refuge says officials have reopened the northern end of the tour loop to visitors and the visitor center will resume normal hours Thursday.

The fire started Monday and is burning mostly invasive salt cedar trees.

The refuge is an important stop for migratory birds. Every winter, thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl make this stretch of the Rio Grande home.

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