The four active large fires in New Mexico have burned nearly half a million acres

1:38 p.m. MDT May 20, 2022

Map Calf Canyon Hermits Peak Fire 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022
Map of the Calf Canyon / Hermits Peak Fire. The bright red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022.

The four largest active wildfires in New Mexico all continued to grow Thursday and have burned a total of more than 476,000 acres. Red Flag Warnings are in effect Friday for winds gusting from 30 to 40 mph with single digit humidity.

The 303,701-acre Calf Canyon / Hermits Peak Fire northwest of Las Vegas was subject to single digit humidity and strong winds Thursday afternoon, 10 to 20 mph with 30 to 40 mph gusts out of the west. Since the east side is somewhat secure most of the additional spread was limited to the west side, which experienced in some areas fire behavior described as “extreme, crowning, group torching, and spotting.”

Smoke over the Calf Canyon - Hermits Peak Fire
Smoke over the Calf Canyon – Hermits Peak Fire May 18, 2022 by pilot Travis Graham.

The Black Fire 28 miles west-northwest of Truth or Consequences consumed more vegetation on the northwest, northeast, east, and southeast sides. Fire officials said in some places it spread for three miles, growing on the southeast side to within one or two miles of Hermosa. It has burned 104,969 acres.

Map Black Fire 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022
Map of the Black Fire. The bright red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022.

Most of the spread of the 21,687-acre Bear Trap Fire 34 miles southwest of Socorro was on the south side Thursday. Hand crews are prepping and conducting tactical burning operations, some of which may be conducted by aerial ignition. Limited movement to the east off the San Mateo crest is expected due to non-continuous fuels in several recent fire scars.

Map Bear Trap Fire 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022
Map of the Bear Trap Fire. The bright red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:49 a.m. MDT May 20, 2022.

The 45,605-acre Cerro Pelado Fire six miles southwest of Los Alamos has been relatively quiet for several days.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

6 thoughts on “The four active large fires in New Mexico have burned nearly half a million acres”

  1. As a camper and hiker who grew up here in New Mexico, this really breaks my heart. We won’t have any forests left. The 2012 McBride fire took out the western half of the Gila Wilderness, and now the Black fire is munching through the eastern half, while the eastern side of the Pecos is gone, as well as all the others. I have no words to express the loss.

    0
    0
    1. Excuse my mistake, it was the 2012 Whitewater/Baldy fire that torched the western half of the Gila. The McBride just took out a chunk of Ruidoso’s beauty.

      0
      0
  2. Thanks for helping to keep us informed. What I am having a hard time understanding is why the Forest Service doesn’t close the forests the first day of Red Flag season. They must know that there are people who will refuse to use good fire safety and every year it seems they wait for a bad fire before closing the forests.

    0
    0

Comments are closed.