Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire in northern New Mexico. By May 13, 2022, the fire had entered into its second month and had become the second largest in the recorded history of the state of New Mexico.
“The burned area spanned more than 270,000 acres east of Santa Fe and stretched 50 miles (80 kilometers) from its northern to southern perimeter in the Sangre de Cristo mountains,’ reports NASA.
“As of May 13, the fire was 29 percent contained, mostly on its southern perimeter, but continued to spread northeast. Hundreds of buildings and homes have been destroyed, and thousands of people were evacuated. Evacuation orders remained in effect in San Miguel, Moro, and Colfax counties, and have been expanded into the ski resort town of Angel Fire.”
The fire has been fueled by low humidity and high winds across dry vegetation. These factors are a major challenge for the hundreds of firefighters who are working to get the blaze under control. According to NASA, periodic wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour have prevented aerial firefighting efforts, such as water drops and the dispersal of flame retardant.
The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire complex consists of two smaller fires that merged on April 23. The Hermits Peak fire started on April 6. It was a prescribed burn in the Santa Fe National Forest that became uncontrollable in erratic, gusty winds. The second blaze, the Calf Canyon fire, started on April 19. The cause still remains unknown.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory