New Mexico Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire grows to 102,000 acres

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire in New Mexico grew to 102,000 acres as fire officials on Sunday warned that high winds could cause greater spread and prompt more evacuations. Photo courtesy InciWeb

May 1 (UPI) — A wildfire in New Mexico rapidly expanded on Saturday night as fire officials in the state warned of critical fire weather conditions and more evacuations.

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire burning near Santa Fe pushed to the south and east as it grew to 102,000 acres — up from 75,000 acres the day before — and was 30% contained as 1,119 fire officials have been deployed to combat the blaze.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the blaze, which began as two fires a week ago.

Officials said a Red Flag Warning was in effect as wind speeds exceeded 65 mph, fire information officer Mike Johnson said, according to The New York Times.

Carl Schwope, commander of a team for the region that combines firefighting resources from federal, state, local and other agencies, said the blaze “could easily double in size” before being fully contained.

“We’re still in a very dangerous fire situation. It’s going to continue,” he said. “There’s nothing in the weather that looks like it’s going to change. High wind events, north wind events, south wind events. It’s all over the board.”

About 6,000 people from 32 communities near the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire were already under evacuation orders and officials encouraged residents to be prepared for new evacuation announcements at any time.

“Evacuation levels continue to change rapidly, please remain vigilant and watch for updates. Respect all closures and allow firefighting resources to work safely,” they said.


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