A massive wildfire raging in New Mexico forced authorities to facilitate the evacuation of thousands of residents from villages in the northern part of the state, which is at risk of being hit by the wall of flame that is being driven in the northern direction by strong winds.
Winds of over 64 kilometres per hour on Sunday blew embers a mile ahead of the raging wildfire, starting new fires in an area called Mora, 64 kilometres northeast from the state capital, Santa Fe.
“This emerging situation remains extremely serious and refusal to evacuate could be a fatal decision,” CNN quoted New Mexico officials as saying on Sunday.
The wildfire, dubbed the Calf Canyon fire, is currently the largest in the US, and has spread to more than 104,000 acres of land since it began burning on April 6.
Till date, the fire has destroyed more than 300 properties and has forced authorities to evacuate the residents of dozens of villages and settlements in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Yet, authorities are nowhere near bringing the fire under control, with the US Forest Service’s InciWeb reporting that only 30% of the fire had been contained as of Sunday, May 1.
Round-the-clock efforts, however, are underway to bring the inferno under control, and six scooper planes and eight helicopters are reportedly working to slow the rate of spread of the fire and help firefighters on the ground who are trying to extinguish the blaze.
While wildfires are not uncommon in New Mexico, what is worrying is the timing. The wildfire season in the state has its peak in June, but fires in 2022 have already burnt more acres of land than in seven of the last eight years, a sign of the worsening impacts of climate change.