Strong, gusty winds, extremely low humidity and an exceedingly dry landscape fueled an early and severe fire season in New Mexico, U.S.
As of April 19, nearly 99% of the state of New Mexico was dealing with some level of drought, with 63% rated at extreme to exceptional levels of dryness.
Amid those conditions, nearly 55 441 ha (137 000 acres) of forests and grasslands were burning in five major fires across New Mexico on April 25.
The Hermes Peak fire east of Santa Fe has consumed 22 855ha (56 478 acres) of land as of April 25 and was only 12% contained.
This fire started as a prescribed burn in a part of the Santa Fe National Forest on April 19 but strong winds on April 22 and 23 pushed it through steep terrain and caused it to merge with the Calf Canyon fire, creating a fire complex with more than 290 km (180 miles) of perimeter.
The Cooks Peak fire northeast of Santa Fe has so far consumed 21 036 ha (51 982 acres) of land and was only 9% contained as of April 25. The fire started on April 17 but the cause is still under investigation.
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, EO reports.1
According to news reports, hundreds of structures have been burned.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center on April 25, 14 large, active fires were burning across 98 743 ha (244 000 acres) in eleven states.
Since the start of 2022, at least 20 262 wildfires have burned 350 170 ha (865 290 acres) in the United States, well above the 10–year average through April.
1 Wildfires Scorch Northern New Mexico – NASA/EO – April 26, 2022
Featured image credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS. Acquired on April 23, 2022
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