The Calf Canyon and Hermit's Peak wildfires in New Mexico have been burning for over a month now, and since that the two fires have converged, they collectively cover an area over 500 square miles.
You'll recall the fires started in late April.
It has recently come to light that the U.S. Forest Service started both fires.
Forest Service Investigators have determined that the fire began with two planned burns in New Mexico. One of the fires was started on April 6th east of Santa Fe to clear out small trees and brush, and then firefighters lost control. The second was a prescribed burn of wildland debris that had been gathered over months, which happened back in January. The prescribed fire was thought to be complete and extinguished but instead had lain dormant under a pile of wood and brush, flaring back up again unexpectedly.
The two fires eventually met up and began to spread across the state uncontrollably.
Both planned fires were part of the Biden administration's $50 billion plan to stave off catastrophic wildfires by doubling the use of planned fires.
Forest Service Chief Randy Moore has since announced a 90-day pause on that program to review protocols for planned fires. He cited unfavorable weather, but did not link the pause to the New Mexico fires.
"It will also ensure the prescribed burn program nationwide is anchored in the most contemporary science, policies, practices and decision-making processes, and that employees, partners and communities have the support they need to continue using this critical tool to confront the wildfire crisis," the agency said in a statement Friday.
New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called for the federal government to take full responsibility for the New Mexico wildfire, and for the Federal Emergency Management Administration to pay for 100% of costs related to broad recovery efforts.
3,000 firefighters with water-dropping planes and helicopters continue to fight the blaze, costing the state $5 million per day.
And that dollar amount does not take into account the hundreds of homes that have been destroyed or the families that have been displaced.
How can it be that everything this administration touches seems to go up in flames? Literal flames?
Until things change, let's continue to pray for the lives negatively affected and find ways to help.
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