While more than 3.000 firefighters in northern New Mexico continue to battle the most intense active wildfire in the country, state forestry officials worry about future flash floods, landslides and destructive ash from the burning burning scars.
‘This fire has a lot of potential left in it,’ said Carl Schwope, operations director for the Southwest Fire Service, which has been battling the blaze for 52 days.
One of the fires had already been traced back to April 6, when a scheduled fire that firefighters at the US Forest Service put behind it to clear rubble and small trees went out of control.
Two fire-stricken areas merged to form a huge flaming fire at the southernmost point of the Rocky Mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
In Colorado, tank planes and helicopters helped battle a new wildfire in the southern part of the Conejos River, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Initial estimates put the fire at least 330 homes destroyed, but state authorities anticipate that the number of houses and other structures that have burned will rise to more than 1.000 if further evaluations are carried out.
A hazard assessment by the Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey suggests some scorched areas at the fire in New Mexico could see heavy debris streams as they get around 25 inches of rain within 15 minutes.