Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features wildfire burning near Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to NASA, fire season in New Mexico arrived early and aggressively this year, fueled by strong, gusty winds, extremely low humidity, and an exceedingly dry landscape.
Midway through the month of April, nearly 99 percent of the state was experiencing some degree of drought. By April 25, nearly 137,000 acres of forests and grasslands were burning in five major fires across New Mexico.
“To the east of Santa Fe, the Hermits Peak fire had consumed 56,478 acres and was 12 percent contained as of April 25. The event began as a prescribed burn in part of the Santa Fe National Forest, but erratic, gusty winds blew it out of control. Strong winds on April 22-23 pushed the fire through steep terrain and caused a merger with the Calf Canyon fire, creating a fire complex with more than 180 miles of perimeter. Residents in parts of San Miguel, Mora, and Colfax counties were told to evacuate their homes,” reports NASA.
“To the northeast, the Cooks Peak fire burned through 51,982 acres and was 9 percent contained by the morning of April 25.”
“Nearly 1,000 state and federal firefighters were working to contain the Cooks Peak and Hermits Peak blazes, as well as three others across northern New Mexico. According to news reports, hundreds of structures have been burned. Calmer winds and cooler weather on April 24 aided the fire crews, as did some light snow and rain on April 25. But dry and windy conditions are back in the forecast for later this week.”
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory