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Fast-moving wildfire prompts emergency evacuations in New Mexico

fast-moving-wildfire-prompts-emergency-evacuations-in-new-mexico

A fast-moving wildfire which started in the Manzano Mountains on June 14, 2016, prompted Susana Martinez, the New Mexico Governor to declare a state of emergency on June 15, as the emergency services were unable to contain the fire. The cause of the fire is still unknown, and the Forest Service spokeswoman Arlene Perea said it will be investigated as soon as fires are contained.

The Dog Head wildfire has already burned down about 2 000 acres, according to media reports. Two crews of 20 persons, four helicopters, 2 lead planes, one air attack, 6 single air tankers and 6 larger air tankers are in charge of fighting the fire. The Governor has urged the National Guard to remain on standby and the state agencies to aid the local officials.

The residents of the Chillili area were urged to evacuate ahead of the approaching wildfire. Residents of the Manzano Morning Drive, Aceves Road, and La Parra Road were advised to proceed with voluntary evacuations. Between 40 and 50 homes were evacuated in the Torrance County on June 14, after the Sheriff's Office ordered voluntary evacuations.

Video credit: NWS Albuquerque, NM

As of June 16, residents Northwest of Highway 337 and Highway 55 Intersection, West of Highway 337 and Highway 377 North were ordered to evacuate. Between 100 and 200 homes from the affected areas are expected to be included in the evacuations.

The fire crews were unable to contain the wildfire on June 14, as it was moving rapidly, according to the US Forest Service. The fire was instead attacked from the air, and the fire retardant lines are still holding. The officials were unable to confirm if the fire affected any structures in the region.

Local residents worry the wildfire may spread further: "The fire is not that far from our property. It's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 to 4 miles. It's really deceiving. I think that this thing is definitely close enough that I need to keep tabs on it," Ryan Steffens said. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) stated the smoke from the ongoing wildfire will impact numerous town and cities in central New Mexico through the midday on June 16 (local time). Areas affected will include: Magdalena, Socorro, Belen, Los Lunas, Albuquerque, Cedar Crest, Sandia Park, Placitas, Estancia, Moriarty, Edgewood and Las Vegas. Smaller communities are also likely to feel the impact. The winds are expected to retain speeds between 8 and 24 km/h (5 and 15 mph) through the midday of June 16.

Featured image credit: NWS Albuquerque, NM

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