Firefighters in New Mexico slowed the spread of the biggest wildfire currently burning in the US when Joe Biden labelled the situation a catastrophe, bringing new resources to remote areas in New Mexico that have been devastated by wildfires since the beginning of April.

Fire chiefs are using the interim spell of relatively calm and cool weather to prevent the fire approaching the small town of Las Vegas in New Mexico and other towns along the changing lines of the fire.

Planes and helicopters began dumping mud from the sky covered with red firefighting liquid, while ground personnel cleared wood and scrub to starve the fire.

For days, bulldozers scraped down fire lines on the outskirts of Las Vegas, which has a population of 13.000, as crews carried out controlled burning and cleared the neighboring vegetation to keep it from catching fire.

Aircraft dropped more fire retardants along a back ridge west of Las Vegas as a further defensive measure to prepare for the powerful winds expected this weekend.

An estimated 15.500 properties in remote areas and valleys of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which border Las Vegas, are under forced evacuations.

The number of houses destroyed in the fire amounts to about 170, but could rise due to the inability of authorities to carry out any assessment in every fire zone.

New Mexico

New Mexico ; Navajo: Yootó Hahoodzo ) is a state in the Southwestern United States. It is one of the Mountain States of the southern Rocky Mountains, (wikipedia)