More than 1,000 firefighters, with the support of bulldozers and light aircraft, fought the largest active forest fire in USA on Saturday, after high winds pushed it through containment lines and close to a small town in northern New Mexico.
Preliminary images from overnight mapping showed the fire, which has burned at least 166 homes, grew in size from 266 square kilometers (103 square miles) on Friday to 393 square kilometers (152 square miles) by early Saturday, officials said. authorities.
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Airborne ash 7 miles (11 kilometers) fell on Las Vegas, a city of about 13,000 people, and firefighters tried to keep the flames from getting closer, said Mike Johnson, a spokesman for the fire control team. fires.
Moderate winds on Saturday aided firefighting efforts after gusts of wind accelerated the flames’ advance to a point where “We saw that the fire advanced a kilometer and a half every hour”said Jayson Coil, a fire operations official.
However, according to the National Weather Service, the fire risk is expected to be higher on Sunday in some areas of New MexicoArizona, Nevada and Colorado.
The winds in the north New Mexico they reached gusts of up to 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) on Friday, then tapered off as night fell.
The rapid spread of the fire on Friday forced crews to change positions several times due to threatening conditions, but they managed to regain control of the fire without being forced to back down, Coil said. No injuries were reported.
“It’s kind of an acknowledgment to everyone who made good decisions on the fly with limited information in a chaotic environment and with a direct personal threat”he added.
Winds caused the flames to advance with full force on April 22 through the northern territory of New Mexico.