Raging bushfires in US force evacuations | The Murray Valley Standard
Thousands of residents of villages in northern New Mexico have been ordered to evacuate as high winds push the largest active US bushfire towards their drought-scorched mountain valley.
Winds gusting to more than 64 km / h blew embers more than a kilometer before the fire to start new fires on Sunday as crews battled to stop the flames entering Mora, about 65 km away northeast of the state capital, Santa Fe.
It’s part of a chain of farming communities in the path of the Calf Canyon Fire, the most destructive of a dozen fires in the southwestern United States scientists say are more widespread and coming earlier this year due to climate change.
“Where are we supposed to run, where are we going?” asked Darlene Gallegos, co-owner and manager of the local Mora Farmers Market, the last grocery store to remain open in the farming community of about 1,000 people.
Twenty miles south at the other end of the 42,100 hectare megafire, residents of Las Vegas, New Mexico were told to prepare for evacuation on Sunday as winds pushed the fire to less than eight miles from homes near Highway 25, according to local authorities.
Crews bulldozed firewalls west and north of the historic Wild West town of 14,000 to protect ranches, rural homes and the United World College in the village of Montezuma, the official said. Fire Chief Todd Abel during a briefing.
“We’re just gritting our teeth there will be thousands of people affected,” San Miguel County Deputy Executive Jesus Romero said.
When asked if the whole city would be asked to evacuate, Romero said that could happen on Monday when the winds are expected to shift and blow east.
Burning since April 6 about 30 miles east of Santa Fe, the blaze has destroyed more than 300 properties and forced the evacuation of dozens of villages and settlements in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Australian Associated Press