This is unprecedented.Firefighter Hugh Vallely, incident team liaison officer, on the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire — the largest in New Mexico history.
- For context — Vallely, whom we quoted above, has served as a firefighter for 49 years.
- The historic fire has now covered nearly 300,000 acres — and has burned more acres of land than all the wildfires in the state last year combined. It started as two individual fires which then joined together; one fire started at the beginning of April as a "control burn," while the origin of the other is under investigation.
- Estimates: 16,000 homes evacuated, impacting more than 40,000 people.
- Drought conditions and unpredictable winds have made firefighting more challenging.
Why It Matters: This historic blaze in New Mexico, which began earlier than what is expected to be "fire season," raises concern about the year ahead — not only for that state but also for potential fire conditions nationwide. A new report just released this week says 1 in 6 Americans live at risk of wildfires and that number is expected to grow.
Timeline: The making of a massive wildfire (Santa Fe New Mexican)
New Mexico Fire Now State's Largest Ever, Resort Evacuated: What You Need to Know (CNET)
Pecos residents keep wary eye on fire as growth continues Monday (Santa Fe New Mexican)
by Jenna Lee,