Biden to visit New Mexico in wake of historic wildfire season




  • In Politics
  • 2022-06-07 13:05:51Z
  • By USA TODAY

NEW MEXICO - President Joe Biden will be traveling to New Mexico this week in the wake of multiple record-breaking wildfires scorching hundreds of thousands of acres of the state's forest land this year.

Biden will meet with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, first responders and emergency personnel on Saturday at the New Mexico State Emergency Operation Center in Santa Fe.

Biden is making the visit following the Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles from Wednesday to Friday.

New Mexico is battling two of the largest wildfires in its history - the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire in the Santa Fe National Forest and the Black Fire in the Gila National Forest. They are burning over 605,000 acres collectively and are the largest and third-largest wildfires in the recorded history of the state.

Crews from the Yoder Volunteer Fire Department out of Wyoming work on the Black Fire in the Gila National Forest May 30, 2022.
Crews from the Yoder Volunteer Fire Department out of Wyoming work on the Black Fire in the Gila National Forest May 30, 2022.  

The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire started out as two separate fires and merged in mid-May. The Hermits Peak Fire started as the Las Dispensas prescribed burn in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District. Strong winds caused the fire to jump containment lines and then grew exponentially. The Calf Canyon Fire was traced back to a pile burn holdover from January. The collective fire is still showing moderate fire behavior, though containment has increased to 65%.

Lujan Grisham has been critical of the federal government, calling on the Biden administration to take responsibility for initiating a natural disaster that has destroyed at least 330 homes and left a financial toll in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Biden administration announced in January a $50 billion plan to stave off catastrophic wildfires that would more than double the use of planned fires and logging to reduce trees and other vegetation that serve as tinder in the most at-risk areas. Prescribed burns often are used in wildland areas that are too vast to thin by hand or machine.

The Black Fire started in mid-May due to human causes, though the specifics are still under investigation. When this wildfire started, the northern New Mexico fire was already reaching historic acreage. However, the Black Fire, in a mostly uninhabited part of the Gila National Forest, grew at an even faster rate than the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire.

By the time Biden visits, the Black Fire will likely be the second largest in state's history. Though its growth has slowed, it's possible the Black Fire will have burned more acreage than its northern New Mexico counterpart. As of Monday, 49% of the Black Fire's perimeter was contained.

Growth has slowed some, but it is still possible this fire will outgrow its northern New Mexico counterpart. Between the two, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced due to fire danger and smoke. Numerous homes have also been lost in the northern portion of the state - homes that have never been threatened by seasonal wildfires before.

View above the Black Fire on May 16, 2022.
View above the Black Fire on May 16, 2022.  

Leah Romero is the trending reporter at the Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached at 575-418-3442, LRomero@lcsun-news.com or @rromero_leah on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Joe Biden will travel to New Mexico amid historic wildfire season

COMMENTS

More Related News

Exclusive: Democrats incensed by secret Biden-McConnell deal of anti-abortion Republican for judge seat
Exclusive: Democrats incensed by secret Biden-McConnell deal of anti-abortion Republican for judge seat

Rep. John Yarmuth was told by the White House that Biden plans to nominate conservative attorney Chad Meredith to fill an upcoming judicial vacancy.

OnPolitics: POTUS backs changing filibuster to codify abortion into law
OnPolitics: POTUS backs changing filibuster to codify abortion into law

Pres. Biden said the filibuster, which requires 60 Senate votes to pass most laws, "gets in the way" of efforts to codify abortion rights into law.

Missing From Biden
Missing From Biden's Europe Trip: An Endgame for War and Cheaper Gasoline
  • World
  • 2022-06-30 18:34:50Z

MADRID - President Joe Biden issued a grim warning to Americans after Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February: Standing up to President Vladimir Putin...

Iran says nuclear deal still possible despite Qatar talks setback
Iran says nuclear deal still possible despite Qatar talks setback
  • World
  • 2022-06-30 17:15:16Z

Iran insisted Thursday that a revived nuclear agreement with major powers remains achievable even as European powers backed Washington in urging Tehran to...

July 4 celebrations in NJ are threatened by pain at the pump
July 4 celebrations in NJ are threatened by pain at the pump

There are no easy solutions to this crisis, but one of the most impactful would be the expanded production of American oil and gas.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics