MORA, N.M. ( Associated Press) — As more than 2,700 firefighters battled the largest active wildfire in the United States in northern New Mexico on Sunday, many evacuees grow increasingly concerned about their future after being weeks away from their homes.
The largest fire in state history has been burning for six weeks now, and some of the hundreds of people who have had to evacuate say their financial resources are dwindling.
Amity Maes, a 30-year-old Mora resident who said she was eight and a half months pregnant and not a penny, told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper that she had been moving around the area for weeks before finding refuge in a center in Glorieta enabled for evacuees, where he believes he contracted COVID-19.
Officials at Glorieta Adventure Camps indicated that there have been 67 cases of coronavirus among evacuees, including some that required hospitalization.
After finishing her period of isolation, Maes said she was asked to leave and stay in a hotel in Santa Fe, where she could be closer to a hospital in case she went into labor. When he arrived, the hotel did not have his reservation, and when she finally got a room, it was only for one night.
“They keep encouraging us to go to Albuquerque,” where evacuees are being housed in hotels, Maes told the newspaper. “We don’t have gasoline. We have no income. There are no gas vouchers. There is nothing. I have a quarter tank of gas and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
The Glorieta evacuee center has housed hundreds of people this month and has hosted a dozen organizations that provide services and resources to evacuees. But this week it will close its doors to prepare for its annual summer camps.
Staff are trying to make sure all evacuees at the center have a place to go when it closes its doors, but some families don’t know where they’ll end up.
Heather Nordquist has been involved in alleviating issues affecting residents of northern New Mexico, and said the needs of evacuees are not being met. She has raised about $3,000 in donations, which she has used for food, gas and gift cards, and supplies for evacuees.
“I am deeply disheartened that our tax dollars are not reaching these evacuees,” Nordquist told the New Mexican. “It breaks my heart (what is happening) the people of Mora.”
Meanwhile, the forest fire was still 40% contained at its perimeter on Sunday.
A cold front that arrived on Friday night caused a drop in temperatures, raised humidity levels and provided cloudiness that “casts a shadow on flammable material, so the fire has to make a greater effort and it costs more.” job to burn that material,” said Dennis Burns, a fire behavior analyst. “It has actually given us some decent conditions to attack this fire.”
Covering an area of 1,253 square kilometers (482 square miles), the fire is so large that it has been divided into three zones managed separately by three of the country’s 17 largest teams specializing in Type I incidents.
The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire is one of five major fires active in the state and one of 16 nationally, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.