It is one of several fires burning in the West, with flames also tearing through Arizona and Nebraska, killing one person.
On Saturday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said 16 of the state’s 33 counties were battling flames with 20 active forest fires.
Declining winds and lower temperatures in the southwest are expected to give firefighters a temporary respite on Monday – and there is even a chance of rain and snow showers in northeastern New Mexico, said CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
“There is a chance of light snow accumulation and the Calf Canyon fire is right on the edge of this so any rainfall is much appreciated. But unfortunately the wind and temperatures will also increase there from Tuesday and peaks to Friday,” Shackelford said .
Hermits Peak Fire, which is burning near Las Vegas, New Mexico, ignited on April 6, and Calf Canyon Fire began Tuesday.
New Mexico Fire Information said Monday that “favorable weather conditions yesterday allowed firefighters to engage the fire more directly, and an influx of new resources will help with the firefighting effort.”
“The firefighters are fully engaged, we have the full package of our firefighting forces available – air resources, land resources, intelligence resources,” said event manager Carl Schwope. He noted that it was a very complex fire with a circumference of more than 180 miles.
Two “scooper” planes were deployed to scoop water from a nearby lake to put out the flames, with two more expected Monday, Jayson Coil, operations section chief, said at the briefing.
Heavy helicopters that can hold up to 2,000 gallons of water as well as air tankers were also in use, Coil said.
Evacuation orders revoked for Arizona tunnel fire
The fire has been burning across northern Arizona’s Coconino County for nearly a week and was only 15% fought as of Monday, the InciWeb report said. Firefighters remain in the area while continuing their relief efforts.
The fire started April 17 just north of Flagstaff. At least two dozen buildings have been destroyed, officials said.
As residents began returning to their neighborhoods Sunday, the full extent of destruction from the fire came to light.
“It’s unbelievable, you know? We still feel like this is a dream, a bad dream,” Ernst told the station. “All your efforts, all your sacrifices, just there, you know, in ashes … There is no word to describe the pain.”
George Adson said it was a relief to see his home survive the fire, but he felt with his neighbors who lost everything.
“You have a little bit of the guilt of survival,” Adson told KNXV. “Just the fact that our property looks pretty good right now and you’re looking right up there, there’s nothing there.”
Officials warned residents returning to their homes to take care of the dangerous conditions left by the fire.
Examples of hazards include weakened trees that can fall without warning, loss of soil vegetation can loosen rolling debris, and rocks and ash pits from stumps may look benign but will hold on to hot ash for a while and can cause severe burns if they step in “, the report states.
A state of emergency in Coconino County, declared by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday, remains in effect.
Retired fire chief dies in Nebraska fires
In Nebraska, one person has died as a result of the fires in the southwestern part of the state.
Retired Fire Chief John P. Trumble, 66, was driving while acting as a spotter. Smoke and dust blocked his view, causing his vehicle to leave the road. He was then overwhelmed by fire and smoke, according to the Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office.
Trumble died while driving on Road 407, a site that has been part of Nebraska’s major emergency fire, called Road 702 Fire – which was estimated to have burned more than 41,000 acres Monday afternoon, according to Inciweb.
The agency said the flames from Road 702 have engulfed parts of Frontier, Furnas and Red Willow counties.
All evacuation orders previously issued for the fire have been revoked from Sunday afternoon, NEMA notes.