The cottonwoods lining the Rio Chama are decked out in brand-new spring leaves.
A typical northern New Mexican scene — with the exception of the giant smoke plume in the background (photo taken two weeks ago). I first posted about this fire five weeks ago; it’s hard to believe it’s still going strong. Worse yet, the Forest Service announced a couple of days ago that, not only has this been the largest wildfire in New Mexican history, both parts of it were caused by the Forest Service itself. Heartbreaking.
I’ll stop posting wildfire photos when the fires end.
Looking south-southeast at sunset from my camping spot in the Rio Chama Valley a week ago. I think many of the clouds in the photo were actually mixed with smoke from the Calf Canyon fire (still going strong, unfortunately). For all its destruction, wildfire often makes for exceptionally pretty sunsets.
Our wildfire season got started extraordinarily early this year, first with the Hermit’s Peak fire, and then with the Cerro Pelado fire, which began shortly afterward. There have been numerous fires in the southern part of the state as well, but those are bit more common at this time of the year. Early fires in the Pecos Wilderness and the Jemez are pretty unusual … maybe even unheard of. Plus there are more hot, dry, and windy days ahead of us this week. The digital freeway signs — the ones that warned us to be careful about COVID two years ago, and then to get vaccinated last year — are now reminding us not to drop our cigarette butts outside.
New Mexico’s wildfire season is off to an early and roaring start. I was driving through the Rio Grande Gorge on Thursday when I saw this huge smoke plume, which I figured was from either the Calf Canyon or Hermit’s Peak wildfire (Sangre de Cristos).
We had some of the wildest, craziest winds I can remember the following day. They served to start something like 20 wildfires in the state; yesterday the Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires merged into a single, very large, mostly uncontained wildfire. There’s no rain forecast for the foreseeable future. 🙁