Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Heavy winds expected to fan New Mexico wildfire over weekend

Sports & GeneralMay 06, 2022 10:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A firefighter conducts a prescribed burn to combat the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires, near Las Vegas, New Mexico, U.S. May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt 2/2

By Andrew Hay and Tyler Clifford

TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - Firefighting teams in New Mexico braced on Friday for a mix of relentless winds, near-record high temperatures and low humidity expected to stoke a blaze that has chased thousands from their homes in the mountains and canyons near Santa Fe.

Forecasts called for steady gale-force winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) to sweep the northern New Mexico fire zone starting Saturday, accompanied by temperatures in the 90s Fahrenheit and single-digit humidity readings.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the extreme winds, expected to persist into early next week, would likely hasten the spread of the Hermit Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire, which had scorched more than 168,000 acres (67,987 hectares) as of Friday.

At least 165 dwellings have gone up in flames since the blaze erupted on April 6, though no casualties have been reported.

More than 12,775 homes in Mora and San Miguel counties combined, two of the hardest hit by the blaze, were under evacuation orders, Michael De Fries, a spokesperson for the incident management team, said on Friday.

Residents of another 3,000-plus homes have been advised to be ready to flee on short notice, officials said.


San Miguel County Sheriff Chris Lopez urged residents to heed evacuation orders as the fire threat escalated.

"I'm reiterating to you now, it's time to go," he said at a news briefing on Friday evening.

Officials earlier this week said as many as 60% of Mora County residents in evacuation zones were staying put to help defend properties their families have occupied for generations, even as some run low on food and water.

The risks are high, even to firefighters, authorities said.

"There’s absolutely no human that can outrun a fire that is going to move as rapidly as this fire is going to move in the next couple of days," Todd Abel, a battalion chief with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, told the evening briefing.

Fire officials have bolstered their response by deploying more ground crews and heavy equipment to provide "point protection" of vulnerable properties in the event flames spread farther north toward clusters of villages, Abel said.

He said the worsening weather outlook would pose "some of the harshest firefighting conditions that I've seen."

The fire, which had already blackened an area about half the land mass of New York City, was 20% contained on Friday morning as it raged through drought-parched vegetation around several centuries-old farming and ranching communities in the Sangre de Cristo mountains northeast of Santa Fe, the state capital.

Steep terrain covered with dense stands of desiccated timber, large numbers of dead and dying trees, and thick undergrowth created potentially explosive fuel beds in hard-to-reach areas.

De Fries said the firefighting force of nearly 1,400 personnel was scrambling in advance of the heavy winds to "create stronger, deeper" buffer lines by clearing away unburned vegetation around communities in harm's way.

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon blaze was the largest, and most destructive, of 11 large active fires reported on Friday by the National Interagency Fire Center across the country, six of them in New Mexico. The five others totaled nearly 93,000 acres combined.

The fire consists of two blazes that ignited about two weeks apart and later merged into one, the first originating from a prescribed-burn project that got out of control. The cause of the second remains under investigation, officials said.

The U.S. wildfire season has gotten off to an especially early start this year, with nearly 23,000 blazes of all sizes burning more than 1.27 million acres to date, compared with some 19,000 fires that had charred 530,000 acres by the same point in 2021, according to the Idaho-based fire agency.

Scientists say prolonged drought and unseasonably warm weather driving increasingly extreme, destructive wildfire behavior across the Western United States in recent years is symptomatic of climate change.

Heavy winds expected to fan New Mexico wildfire over weekend

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email