Thousands Threatened By Wildfires As Blazes, Intense Drought Sweeps Through New Mexico

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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More than 15,000 dwellings could be destroyed in the next three days should the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires continue to engulf New Mexico.

The Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires combined in New Mexico in late April, burning more than 54,000 acres of land. Five fires are now burning in six counties throughout the state, threatening properties near the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, as well as San Miguel and Mora Counties, according to CNN.

The largest of the five fires are still the combined Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires, which have burned almost 150,000 acres while being 20% contained, CNN continued. Roughly 172 homes have reportedly been destroyed in Mora and San Miguel Counties, with a further 6,000 properties evacuated.

Roughly 3,500 people were evacuated from the area around Las Vegas by Monday evening after fires damaged or destroyed 270 structures, including 166 homes, CNN reported. The fires are considered “a long-term event.”

“We don’t anticipate having ‘control’ of this fire any time soon,” San Miguel and Mora Counties said in a statement.

Winds were calmer Monday, but are expected to reach up to 45 mph and shift from the south-southeast to a south-southwesterly direction in the coming days, according to the Fire Service. (RELATED: Noam Chomsky Is Scared ‘We’re’ Entering The ‘Most Dangerous Point In Human History’ And The ‘Lucky Ones Will Die More Quickly’)

The entire state of New Mexico is under “abnormal” to “exceptional” drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Wildfires have become an annual threat as a result of the drought conditions throughout western U.S., NPR noted.