May 6, 2022
Monster wildfires scorching New Mexico, including one bigger than the city of Chicago, have destroyed hundreds of homes. The blazes have also forced thousands to evacuate. And President Biden has declared parts of the state disaster areas.
One of the seven blazes threatens Las Vegas, a town of 13,000 people in northern New Mexico. The wildfire is only 20% contained. It has burned more than 165,000 acres, destroyed 172 homes, and forced the evacuation of 15,500 others.
Firefighters have dropped fire retardant from planes. They have also dug fire lines to stop the Las Vegas blaze. Many hope for a break in the weather.
“Our prayers are working because we’ve had advantageous winds throughout the fire area today,” a fire behavior specialist told the Associated Press Thursday. “We’ll take advantage of this fact over the next few days.”
Weather experts predict firefighters have only a short break of a couple of days. Then, strong winds will return. Local police have been running more patrols. They're trying to keep the peace among residents scrambling for supplies.
The federal disaster declaration will provide temporary housing and pay for home repairs for those who have lost their homes. It will also provide low-interest loans for homes that weren't insured. That includes some of the 200 homes that were destroyed last month by a fire in southern New Mexico.
Photo from Reuters.