Smoke from New Mexico fires affects Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas

Wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. MDT May 16, 2022
Vertically integrated wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. MDT May 16, 2022.

Large quantities of smoke from the Black and Calf Canyon Fires in New Mexico is impacting other states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas.

wildfire Smoke 10 a.m. 2022-05-17
Vertically integrated wildfire smoke forecast for 10 a.m. MDT May 17, 2022.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

7 thoughts on “Smoke from New Mexico fires affects Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas”

  1. I’m a New Mexican, old enough to remember our forests when they were lush and green. I am disheartened by the media’s focus on fire suppression as a cause, when it is actually climate change. Climate change is the cause of winters no longer cold enough to control bark beetles, as well as drought. If we don’t focus on the root of the problem, and take care of our living world, we will not have forests left, and we will continue to hurtle towards our extinction. Business as usual is over.

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  2. Thank you for answering. I wonder why they can’t drop water and fire retardant with the aircraft that they did on the other boundaries? I live in the north area that’s probably going to burn and I’m extremely nervous

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    1. Hey Marti,

      Good question. They can drop water or retardant on the west flank but, without anyone on the ground to line the fire after the drops are made that would be totally futile. Water and retardant only work to slow a fire (think slow motion button). Without boots to get in there and immediately put in fireline the fire will just chew right through it. It’s also a HUGE risk to aviators (every drop is) to simply apply suppressants and retardants with a zero % chance that they’ll be effective because of no ground personnel.

      In your case the aircraft would be best used in a defensive or “structure protection” role meaning apply retardant around structures to make them more defensible for ground personnel when the fire approaches.

      It’s important to remember that aircraft DO NOT put out fires, which is especially true in heavy timber fuel types. In heavy timber they’re effectiveness of exceptionally limited.

      I wish you the best. Pro Tip, ask that dozer line is put around your area (it probably already has been) but dozer line makes it much easier to defend structures.

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      1. Why isn’t there any ground personnel in these areas? People live there and forest fire fighters are helping others but leaving the northern and eastern side to fend for themselves???

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        1. He addressed that in the first response. Topography and fuels as well as a lack of options.

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  3. Does anyone know if the northern end of calf- hermit fire is being addressed? Doesn’t seem like it.. by angel fire and cimarron

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    1. Marti,

      Although I am not on this incident, I have a lot of colleagues that are and we’ve been talking.

      They are not doing anything offensively on the N and W sides of the fire due to terrain, fuels and an absolute lack of options to go after it in those locations. On the N side the action is purely defensive (triaging structures, structure protections etc).

      They have run some models on long term fire growth and some of them are predicting that the fire could attain 1 million acres by July barring any significant monsoon. Lets hope the monsoon gets here sooner than later.

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