Strong winds and drought continue to fuel New Mexico fires -

Strong winds and drought continue to fuel New Mexico fires

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an area of northern New Mexico, where nearly a quarter million acres have already been consumed by fires in 2022. This is nearly double the annual total of 2021. 

“Early season wildfires continued to rage in the first week of May 2022 in northern New Mexico,” reports NASA. “The blazes have been driven by high winds, low humidity, and exceptionally dry tinder – grass, brush, and timber – that are providing ample fuel for burning. The fires have destroyed hundreds of structures and prompted the evacuation of thousands of homes. On May 3, 2022, seven large fires were still burning across the state.”

“Earlier in the week, a few days of cooler, slightly more humid weather provided a brief respite before drier, windier conditions brought red flag warnings back to the state. More than a thousand firefighters are battling the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire, two fires that merged on April 22-23 to form one of the largest wildfires in state history.”

By May 3, the massive Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak complex had burned more than 145,000 acres northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Hermits Peak fire was initially a prescribed burn in the Santa Fe National Forest, but gusty winds made it uncontrollable.

According to a report from CNN, if the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak complex fire continues to spread, it will threaten 15,000 homes in the next three days. 

The image was captured on May 3 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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