Wildfires trigger mass evacuations, state of emergency in New Mexico

About 5,000 residents forced to evacuate as 2 devastating wildfires collectively scorch over 20,000 acres

Anadolu Agency/REUTERS June 20, 2024
A firefighter battles the Sites fire near Lodoga, California, US, June 17, 2024. PHOTO:REUTERS

A state of emergency was declared Wednesday in part of New Mexico as forest fires spread rapidly over the span of a day.

About 5,000 residents in and around the village of Ruidoso were forced to evacuate as two devastating wildfires in the South Fork and Salt areas, scorching a total area of over 20,000 acres, ABC news reported.

State Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency in response to the wildfires, with both showing no signs of containment.

Grisham disclosed that evacuation orders were issued for residents in the counties of Mescalero, Otero, and Lincoln.

She further said that of the evacuated population, 500 sought refuge in 10 shelters and service centers across the affected areas.

Read:Forest fires kill 51 in Chile, menace urban areas

Meanwhile, former World Central Kitchen (WCK) board member Robert Egger said on X that he had arrived in the city of Roswell in southeastern New Mexico, where preparations are underway to deliver initial meals to families affected by the fires.

"Our team is mobilizing across the region and will provide immediate assistance as we identify pockets of need," he said.

The extent of the damage caused by the infernos remains uncertain.

Separately, firefighters in California also battled high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds as they sought to contain a wildfire that started Saturday northwest of Los Angeles and has burned at least 12,000 acres.

Firefighting efforts are being coordinated by 17 federal and state agencies, mobilizing a workforce of 800 personnel on the ground.

Authorities have urged residents to remain vigilant and adhere to evacuation orders for their safety.


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