As 20 wildfires burned across nearly half of New Mexico’s drought-stricken 33 counties on Sunday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued emergency declarations.
New Mexico Wildfires that erupted on April 6 in northern New Mexico combined with a smaller fire on Saturday to produce the state’s second-largest inferno, covering more than 66 square miles and forcing widespread evacuations in Mora and San Miguel counties.
Another wind-driven wildfire in northern New Mexico started on April 17 and has burned at least 76 square miles of ponderosa pine, oak scrub, and grass north of Ocate, a Mora County unincorporated hamlet. Meanwhile, several Arizona homeowners who were forced to flee their homes due to a wildfire near Flagstaff were permitted to return home early Sunday morning.
New Mexico Wildfires Have Claimed The Life Of 1
Winds and temperatures in New Mexico decreased on Saturday, but they were still strong enough to keep flames burning. Hundreds of evacuation orders were still in effect.
The northern flames were expected to slow off Sunday as cloud and smoke cover moved in, helping the trees to retain more moisture. However, they warned that the flames’ interiors might exhibit moderate to intense activity, posing a hazard to properties in such locations.
More than 200 structures have been destroyed by the New Mexico Wildfires so far, with another 900 under threat, according to Lujan Grisham.
Officials with the fire department stated the exact damage count is still unknown since it’s too unsafe for firefighters to walk inside and inspect all of the homes that have been destroyed. A total of 1,000 firefighters were battling wildfires across New Mexico, which has already received $3 million in assistance to help combat the blazes. Lujan Grisham said she has requested additional federal assistance from the White House and is advocating for a statewide ban on fireworks.
As of Sunday morning, the wildfire in Prescott had grown to 4.8 square miles and was 15 percent controlled, thanks to water and retardant dropped by helicopters and air tankers.
New Mexico Wildfires and Arizona wildfires are still being investigated as to what caused them.