Damage estimates climb from massive New Mexico wildfire

Jun 7, 2022, 6:16 AM | Updated: 6:22 pm
New Mexico's Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, middle, meets with local officials as she surveys wildfir...

New Mexico's Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, middle, meets with local officials as she surveys wildfire damage in Mora County, N.M., Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Gov. Lujan Grisham says the destruction caused by the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. has been devastating for thousands of residents, saying their lives have been forever disrupted and altered. The largest blaze has charred close to 500 square miles over the past two months. (Office of the Governor of New Mexico via AP)

(Office of the Governor of New Mexico via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The destruction caused by the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. has been devastating for thousands of residents and their lives have been forever disrupted and altered, New Mexico’s governor said Tuesday after touring the damage in one county.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham met with homeowners and local officials while surveying homes in two of the many small northern New Mexico villages that were overcome by flames during the past several weeks after two planned government operations meant to clear out overgrown areas of the forest went awry.

The first-term Democrat is preparing for a visit Saturday with President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to make a quick stop in New Mexico to be briefed on the wildfires and the recovery efforts.

The largest blaze has charred close to 500 square miles (1,295 square kilometers) in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, which sits at the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Much criticism has been levied by residents throughout the rural area because of the federal government’s role in causing the fire.

The governor’s office confirmed Tuesday that several hundred homes are estimated to have been destroyed by the fire. That number will likely increase as inspections and documentation is ongoing.

“I saw firsthand the irrevocable harm that has been caused, with historic homes and livelihoods lost to the flames,” the governor said in a statement following her tour. “But I was also reminded of New Mexicans’ resiliency — I saw neighbors helping neighbors with that same compassion that New Mexicans always show toward one another in tough times.”

The governor also heard about where recovery aid has been helpful and where gaps remain.

Lujan Grisham and other top elected officials have called for the federal government to cover 100% of recovery costs. Some also have asked for an independent investigation of the U.S. Forest Service’s prescribed fire protocols even though the agency has put a hold on such operations pending its own inquiry.

While New Mexico has felt the brunt of the fire season so far this year, much of the West has marked notably hot, dry and windy conditions. Predictions for the rest of the season do not bode well, with drought and warmer weather brought on by climate change worsen fire danger in overgrown forests around the region.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported Tuesday that thousands of wildland firefighters were working toward containment of eight large fires that have burned more than 1,130 square miles (2,927 square kilometers). Five of those fires are in New Mexico, while Alaska, Arizona and Colorado each have one.

In Alaska, crews were working to protect several structures from a fire burning west of Talkeetna.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Turkish president: Sweden hasn’t alleviated NATO concerns

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Sweden’s prime minister that he has not seen any “tangible” moves to address Turkey’s concerns about her country joining NATO, Erdogan’s office said Saturday. Erdogan called in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson for “binding commitments” from Sweden, as well as a “concrete […]
1 day ago
An officer rests on a fence outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Sup...
Associated Press

Justices’ past abortion views, in their own words and votes

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a month ago, a stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicated that the Supreme Court was prepared to take the momentous step of overruling the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade from 1973 and stripping away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. And that’s just what the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, Apri...
Associated Press

What GOP-named justices had said about Roe to Senate panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nine justices of the Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Friday, made clear their views on abortion, with the conservative majority overturning the Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 and stripping away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. The vote was 6-3 to uphold Mississippi’s law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

With new owners, Florida Project motel dwellers must leave

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Residents at a motel along a tourist strip not far from Walt Disney World that was used as the setting for the 2017 film “The Florida Project” were told that they must vacate on short notice because the complex has been sold to another owner. Residents of the Magic Castle Inn […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Its Olympic future in doubt, weightlifting names new leader

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Iraqi official Mohammed Jalood was elected president of the International Weightlifting Federation in chaotic scenes on Saturday. In an election more than a year overdue, more controversy and confusion was stirred up when nine of the 11 candidates for president withdrew just before voting began. A vote was taken but Qatari […]
1 day ago
A water gauge plunging in the sand of the riverbed shows the low level of the waters of the Po rive...
Associated Press

Milan to turn off fountain spigots as drought bakes Italy

MILAN (AP) — The mayor of Milan signed an ordinance Saturday turning off the spigots of public decorative fountains and the city’s archbishop prayed for rain in a tour of churches as northern Italy endures one of its worst droughts in decades. The city ordinance follows the declaration Friday of a state of emergency in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Damage estimates climb from massive New Mexico wildfire