Hundreds were forced to flee their homes after both Colorado and New Mexico have been hit by wildfires. Across both states, firefighters are trying to contain the wildfires from spreading.
On Sunday, heavy smoke literally hid the sun from view in northern Colorado. The wildfire originated about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, but it spread fast to over 31 square miles. Hundreds of people both in Colorado and New Mexico were forced to evacuate following the notice or hearing the fire spreading to their backyards.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said that the wildfire that hit Colorado is as bad as it could get. “If you talk about worst case scenario, this is our worst case scenario”, as 2,575 official evacuation notices were sent to residents and another 500 fleeing to Red Cross shelters. Over 30 square miles have been turned to ashes in just two days, while the authorities of Larimer County are still trying to end the wildfire.
The concern is that the fire will spread into the rough land of High Park too fast for the personnel to contain it. The area has numerous trees impacted by bark beetles which would catch fire very fast. Sunday morning, the authorities had already evacuated the canyons, highways and Red Stone Canyon, Lory State Park and the Buckhorn Road.
Authorities warn that “the burning pattern of High Park fire could potentially cut off exit routes for residents in this area and they should leave now” reads an evacuation notice on an official website. The Associated Press states that the Colorado wildfire sent heavy smoke all over through Nebraska, Kansas and Texas.
In New Mexico, the wildfire started Friday, but over the weekend it spread to destroy about 40 buildings and sent hundreds of people away from their homes. Officials are trying to contain the fire that’s threatening the community of Ruidoso. Karen Takai, spokeswoman for Ruidoso firefighters, said “any communities around this fire have the potential of being evacuated”. She added that the nearby community of Capitan should consider evacuation too. “Don’t wait until the sheriff’s office comes knocking at your door and tells you to evacuate” added Takai.
The state is also struggling to contain another fire, The Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire has by now broke the record of the largest fire in New Mexico archives. However, the fire that burned through 278,039 acres, isn’t a threat for populated areas.