New Mexico Wildfires


T. Dongara, News Editor

For the past decade, the severity of wildfires has grown. The current fire just south of the Colorado border in New Mexico has already burned more than 260,000 acres and has grown by about 90,000 acres in the past week alone. Decades of mega-drought combined with the impacts of climate change have been fueling mega-fires like this one.  Only 29% of this has been contained so far, and firefighters are exhausted. Part of the reason why it has been so difficult to control is because of the winds. Dangerous gusts of wind up to 50 to 70 mph are known as “red flag” winds. One day in this month-long period, the red flag winds lasted 59 hours. New Mexico has already seen 30 red flags since April 1st. 

There are currently 1,900 people working on this fire. The winds are expected to die down in the next couple of days, and the public expects some relief. 

The severity of this fire has already affected more than 4,000 homes. Evacuation orders have, therefore, been set in place. However, because most of these homes are generational, it has been difficult to enforce. Native Americans view the forested area as sacred and are willing to endanger themselves to protect the land. Farmers and ranchers also refuse to leave the homes that have been in their families for generations. This not only puts the citizens at risk but also the first responders. 

The fire has already destroyed 300 structures in the span of a month, including homes, statues, and buildings. As the climate crisis continues to become an issue, natural disasters like these will continue to grow in both intensity and frequency. This is just the beginning of the tragic impacts of climate change.