“Hermit’s Peak” is already the second-largest fire in New Mexico’s history.
This massive fire continued to advance and destroyed thousands of miles of vegetation in the western state of New Mexico, as the region’s chronic drought worsened the situation this week.
The monster fire has already devastated more than 160,000 acres in the south of the state and destroyed over 170 buildings. It’s only 20% contained as crews battle around the clock to get it put out.
Residents Being Evacuated
Nearly 16,000 homes have been evacuated since April 6, when the flames began.
On Friday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called it a “historic” weather incident and said we’re now in a critical moment of the fire.
The governor added that weather conditions, with high temperatures and extreme winds, are the worst possible for the fire, which has only been 20% controlled so far.
As the fire continues to spread, it is already the second-largest on record in New Mexico, surpassing the area lost in fires across the state by 2021. Efforts to fight the blaze are coming out of the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico.
As dry weather continues, officials warn the fire could expand in several directions in the coming days.
The flames started a month ago as part of a controlled fire created intentionally to clear excess vegetation in specific areas. Though it got out of hand, due to strong winds and extreme drought, officials said.
New Mexico forest fire prevention official Wendy Mason said it was the first time, at least in recent memory, that so many large fires occurred at the same time in the state.
— Laura Paskus (@LauraPaskus) May 5, 2022
Fire Season is Starting
The fire season in the western United States is just beginning; strong droughts are creating nightmare conditions for large areas of our western states.
Though New Mexico has already had more than 1,000 square kilometers of vegetation burned, a figure close to the region’s average for a full year.
New Mexico is already reaching the limit of what any state can deal with in terms of forest fires. Hermit’s Peak has spread beyond what anybody imagined or predicted in the lead-up to the fire season this year.
Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in New Mexico, which will make it easier to receive resources to help fight the fires and help displaced residents, but the situation is very bad indeed.
Many cattle ranchers also lost huge amounts of their livestock and are scrambling to evacuate their animals before the flames reach them as well.
If you are needing assistance moving livestock from Hermit’s Peak / Calf Canyon fires please contact San Miguel County Dispatch at (505) 425-6190. They are the best resource on the ground and are coordinating directly with New Mexico Livestock Board inspectors.
— NM Cattle Growers' Association (@nmcga) April 30, 2022
The Bottom Line
New Mexico needs all the help it can get right now to fight Hermit’s Peak and get residents to safety.
Pray for the first responders and firefighters as they battle this monster blaze and try to get it under control.