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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Biden declares disaster as firefighters slow huge New Mexico wildfire

LAS VEGAS, NM ( Associated Press) – Firefighters slowed the pace of the largest wildfire in the US on Wednesday due to heavy winds, while President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration that has been ravaged by fires since early April. It brings new financial resources to remote parts of New Mexico. ,

U.S. Representative Teresa Léger Fernandez announces a presidential disaster declaration during an evening briefing by the U.S. Forest Service about efforts to stem wildfires in northeastern New Mexico. It covers 258 square miles (669 square kilometers) of high alpine forest and grasslands at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains.

A Firefighting Aircraft Takes Off Over A Plume Of Smoke Near Las Vegas, New Mexico, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
A firefighting aircraft takes off over a plume of smoke near Las Vegas, New Mexico, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

“It will help us rebuild that and it will help us with the expenses and hardship that people are facing right now,” said the Congresswoman. “We’re glad it happened quickly.”

Fire bosses are occupying intervals of relatively calm and cool weather to prevent the fire from being pushed closer to the small New Mexico city of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the shifting fronts of the fire. Airplanes and helicopters dropped a red fire retardant solution from the sky, as ground crews cleared wood and brush to extinguish fires on critical fronts.

Todd Shomeck, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Albuquerque, said winds of up to 45 mph (72 kph) are expected to return Saturday afternoon with higher-than-normal temperatures and “extremely low” humidity, leading to extreme fires. creates danger. “Sunday and Monday are probably looking worse.”

In This Sunday, May 1, 2022 Photo Provided By Jasper Bivens Of Greyback Forestry, Plumes Of Smoke From A Wildfire Are Visible From Highway 518, A Few Miles North Of Las Vegas, New Mexico.
In this Sunday, May 1, 2022 photo provided by Jasper Bivens of Greyback Forestry, plumes of smoke from a wildfire are visible from Highway 518, a few miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

About 1,300 firefighters and other personnel were put on fire.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for an estimated 15,500 homes in the valleys and outskirts of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains bordering Las Vegas. The number of homes destroyed by the fire is around 170, but it could rise further as officials have not been able to make an assessment in all the burned areas.

Biden’s disaster declaration released emergency funds for recovery efforts in three counties in northeastern New Mexico where fires are still raging and for southern New Mexico areas where wind-driven blazes killed two and killed two people. More than 200 homes were destroyed in mid-April.

A White House statement said the aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover insured property damage, and other relief programs for people and businesses.

San Miguel County Sheriff Chris Lopez said, “Repopulation, that’s something we’re very interested in.” “Everyone wants to go back home.”

Dan Pearson, a federal government fire behavior expert, said weather forecasters predict relatively light winds two days before the return of strong spring thunderstorms.

“Our prayers are working as good winds are blowing across the fire area today,” he said. “We will take advantage of this fact over the next few days. … What we can do is create flexible wallets.”

The fire covered only 20% of its circumference. Its flames were about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Las Vegas, where schools were closed as residents prepared for a possible evacuation.

Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory were tracking another wildfire, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) across the US nuclear research complex.

Fire crews worked to widen a road lined between the fire and Los Alamos, clearing the underbrush and treating the area with fire retardant.

Scientists and fire experts have said wildfires have become a year-round threat in the drought-stricken West – accelerating and warming more than ever because of climate change. Fire officials also point to areas of overpopulation where vegetation could worsen wildfire conditions.

Montoya Bryan reported from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Associated Press writers Paul Davenport in Phoenix and Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico contributed to this report. Attanasio is a core member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on issues covered. follow atanasio Twitter,

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