For the fourth consecutive day on Monday, with warnings of extreme fire conditions in northern New Mexico, firefighters made strides to halt the spread of the largest active wildfire in the country.

The nearly eight-week-old fire was enclosed by containment lines cutting and scraping about half its perimeter and encircling 493 square miles of wooded mountains and foothills east of Santa Fe.

Initial estimates suggested at least 330 homes suffered damage from the fires but state officials estimate the number of homes and other buildings gutted will reach more than 1.000 if further evaluations are carried out.

Due to very high winds and low moisture, red flag warnings were issued Monday but crews backed by bulldozers and planes dropping water by Monday lunchtime could jump to hotspots and allow only minimal growth, officials said.

A cold front could be bringing in deepening humidity in eastern New Mexico through Tuesday night, when the best chance of showers and thunderstorms is Wednesday through Friday.

In a further reflection of the progress made to dampen the fire’s growth, San Miguel County on Saturday lifted evacuation orders for several areas on the the fire’s west flank and lowered the alert period for others.

‘This change is a direct result of the positive progress firefighters have made in containing this fire and limiting fire growth,’ the officials said in a statement.

Orange County, California

Orange County is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Southern California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 3,186,989, making it the third-most populous county in California, (wikipedia)