Sat 23-04-2022 21:41 PM
NEW MEXICO, 23rd April, 2022 (WAM) — Howling winds pushed wildfires towards villages in northern New Mexico on Friday, forcing thousands to flee their homes as blazes burned across the parched US Southwest.
In a statement carried by Reuters, the local authorities said that over a dozen small communities were evacuated as two wildfires merged in mountains around 30 miles northeast of Santa Fe, driven by wind gusts of over 60 mph (97 kph).
The so-called Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires combined about 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, according to the Inciweb fire tracking site.
The blazes were among over a dozen burning across the U.S. Southwest as a decades-long drought combined with abundant dry vegetation, raising concerns the region was in for a harsh fire year.
“New Mexico right now has multiple fires going, Arizona has multiple fires going, and that is abnormal for this early in the season,” said Laura Rabon, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico where two people died in a blaze last week.