New Mexico wildfire scorches about 275 square miles, fueled by strong winds and high temperatures
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Strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity continued to wreak havoc on Sunday in a devastating wildfire that has already burned more than 275 square miles in northern New Mexico.
The National Weather Service Albuquerque warned on Saturday, “Extremely dangerous and potentially historically extended extreme fire weather conditions will continue into the middle of next week.”
More than 1,500 firefighters are battling the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have spread northeast of Santa Fe and contain only 21%.
Complicating firefighters’ efforts with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, Scooper puts the planes on the ground in phases over the weekend.
Todd Abel, a spokesman for the National Wildfire Co-ordinating Group, told a news conference on Sunday: “The wind is unbelievable.
The New Mexico fire was captured on a NASA satellite image
The National Weather Service Albuquerque issued a red flag warning on Saturday that will remain in effect until Monday evening, citing “very strong winds, a few hours of unit humidity, above average warmth and a very unstable environment.”
The Hermits Peak fire started more than a month ago when a scheduled burn went out of control due to “unexpected erratic winds” in the Santa Fe National Forest. The Cuff Canyon fire started about two weeks later and eventually merged with the Hermits Peak Fire.
Thousands of residents have already been forced to evacuate, and fire spokesman Todd Abel has warned that residents who have not yet been able to do so but are under evacuation orders could cause traffic jams if they wait any longer.
President Biden on Thursday announced a major disaster in the region, which would allow those affected by the fire to receive temporary housing, home repairs and other benefits while recovering.
According to the National Inter-Agency Fire Center, about 1,986 square miles have already been burned in the United States this year, the most since 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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