Nearly 6,000 residents have been forced to evacuate as large wildfires continue spreading in the southwestern US mountain state of New Mexico, the state’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham has said.
“I have 6,000 people evacuated, I have families who don’t know what the next day looks like,” Lujan Grisham told a news briefing on Tuesday, urging US President Joe Biden to declare a disaster so as to free up federal financial assistance.
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed since large wildfires started in mid-April and merged afterwards in the northeast of the state, and the number of burnt structures would likely go much higher, the Governor added.
The wildfire season in the region normally starts in May or June but this year it came dangerously early, CNN Meteorologist Monica Garrett said last week, Xinhua news agency reported.
New Mexico in April has already seen a year’s worth of fire activity, she said, citing dire fire weather and ongoing mega drought that left no moisture in the soil.
A dozen uncontained large fires have burned about 1,000-square km in five US states, including New Mexico, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Interagency Fire Center.
Wildfires have become a year-round threat in the drought-stricken US West, and they are moving faster and burning hotter than ever due to climate change, said an ABC News report, citing scientists and fire experts.