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TUESDAY May 17, 2022: 'NEW MEXICO INFERNO' by award winning Albuquerque Journal photographers Eddie Moore, Adolphe Pierre-Louis and Roberto E. Rosales: In New Mexico, the massive Calf Canyon-Hermits Peaks Fire is now officially the state's largest recorded wildfire in modern history, eclipsing the 297,845 acre Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex of 2012. On Monday morning fire officials listed Calf Canyon-Hermits peak at 298,060 acres. Fanned by erratic and unpredictable winds and growing by more than 90,000 acres in the past week, Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire has already burned more acres than burned last year in all of New Mexico. Spring is historically a busy time for wildfires in the Southwest, before the summer monsoons arrive around the Fourth of July, if they do. But this year, as in recent ones, large fires began igniting in the region at least a month early due to an extended drought made worse by human-caused climate change. The drought that has enveloped southwestern North America for the past 22 years is the region's driest 'megadrought' defined as a drought lasting two decades or longer, since at least the year 800, according to a new UCLA-led study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Fire scientists predict another long, expensive, destructive and smoky summer. Welcome to 'NEW MEXICO INFERNO'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #839: TUESDAY May 17, 2022: 'NEW MEXICO INFERNO' by award winning Albuquerque Journal photographers Eddie Moore, Adolphe Pierre-Louis and Roberto E. Rosales: In New Mexico, the massive Calf Canyon-Hermits Peaks Fire is now officially the state's largest recorded wildfire in modern history, eclipsing the 297,845 acre Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex of 2012. On Monday morning fire officials listed Calf Canyon-Hermits peak at 298,060 acres. Fanned by erratic and unpredictable winds and growing by more than 90,000 acres in the past week, Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire has already burned more acres than burned last year in all of New Mexico. Spring is historically a busy time for wildfires in the Southwest, before the summer monsoons arrive around the Fourth of July, if they do. But this year, as in recent ones, large fires began igniting in the region at least a month early due to an extended drought made worse by human-caused climate change. The drought that has enveloped southwestern North America for the past 22 years is the region's driest 'megadrought' defined as a drought lasting two decades or longer, since at least the year 800, according to a new UCLA-led study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Fire scientists predict another long, expensive, destructive and smoky summer. Welcome to 'NEW MEXICO INFERNO'
ELIZABETH ESQUIBEL, right, with her granddaughter TITIANA OROZCO, 18, and other family members, look through the ashes and twisted metal that was once their home along Hwy 94 near Tierra Monte in San Miguel County. This is the first day they have been able to see what's left of her house after the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire destroyed it and others in the area on April 22.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Fire crews work on setting up a line on the north end of the Big Hole Fire in Belen Bosque. The blaze grew to 850 acres.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
The skies above downtown Las Vegas, are dark with smoke from the Calf Canyon Fire burning in the nearby Gallinas Canyon.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
SOPHIE SHURTER, 17, left and BROOKE 'Cue' CURLEY, 18 survey the charred remains of their neighbors home near Corrales. The two Cleveland High School seniors rescued neighbors from a burning house last Friday.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Firefighters put out a juniper that erupted along Hwy 283 near Las Vegas. Fire crews are trying to hold the Calf Canyon/ Hermits Peak Fire at the road and not let it cross. Officials estimate 277 structures, including at least 166 homes, were destroyed so far. The governor requested a presidential declaration of an emergency in the state.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A fire fighting crew walk toward the Bosque near Atrisco and Riverview Place NW after a fire broke out next to the river.
© Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A fire fighting helicopter fills up its reservoir with water from a pond at The Outlaw Golf Course at Alto Lakes while fighting the McBride Fire in Ruidoso.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A juniper tree erupts with flames along Hwy 283 near Las Vegas. Firefighters are trying to hold the Calf Canyon/ Hermit Peak Fire at the road and not let it cross.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
KYLEE MOBERG tries to get through a road block on Hwy 94 to get to her friend and horses, as wildfires burn in the hills behind her. Police blocked the road because of the new Calf Fire burning near the area of the Hermit Peak Fire. She was evacuated for a week after the Hermit Peak Fire started, then got to go home and is now evacuated again.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A horse grazes in a pasture under an orange smoke filled sky, along Hwy 434 between Black Lake and Angel Fire where the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire is advancing.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Smoke fills the air, after the Hermits Peak Fire burned through forested hillsides near the San Miguel and Mora County line north of Sapello.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A firefighting aircraft dumps red retardant near the Hermit Peak Fire to help protect homes on the westside of Las Vegas. Several types of modified firefighting aircraft joined the fight to keep the fire away for the Northern New Mexico town.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Spraying water a resident hoses her property as the Hermit Peak Fire complex gets closer to the city. Evacuations have already been ordered for ares 2 blocks from her home.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
KAYT PECK, former assistant fire chief for the Sapello Fire Department, gets her horse 'Charlie Horse,' ready to move to a rescue farm near Las Vegas. Peck's home in Rociada was destroyed by the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire buring near the San Miguel and Mora County line.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
KAYT PECK, former assistant fire chief for the Sapello Fire Department, watches her horse 'Charlie Horse,' third from left, meet other horses he'll be living with on a rescue farm near Las Vegas. Peck's home in Rociada was destroyed by the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire burning near the San Miguel and Mora County line.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
LORENZO MONTOYA, Jr., who works for the State Fire Marshal's office, hugs KAYT PECK, former assistant fire chief for the Sapello Fire Department, after he helped her move her horse to a rescue farm near Las Vegas. Peck's home in Rociada was destroyed by the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire burning near the San Miguel and Mora County line. Montoya and Peck had both previously worked for San Migual County Fire.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Glowing orange in the night, the Hermits Peak Fire burns south of Las Vegas. High winds were expected in the area for several days making firefighters work even harder.
© Robert Browman/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
CLAYTON QUINTANA helped take care of his surrounding neighbors' livestock as flames spread near his family's ranch and the surrounding area off Hwy 94 near Manuelitas in northern New Mexico. Quintana's family ranch survived the blaze. Firefighters continue to battle the Calf Canyon/ Hermits Peak Fire that has grown to grown to 259,810 acres.
© Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
MICHELE and KENNY RYEN along with their 7 month -old Yorkie Poodle Mix named 'Stevie Nikki' lost their home in the Ruidoso McBride Fire. They were evacuated to the local Ruidoso Convention Center.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Residents near Atrisco and Riverview Place NW water the Bosque, which borders their backyard after a fire broke out next to the river. A bosque is a type of gallery forest habitat found along the riparian flood plains of stream and river banks in the southwestern United States.
© Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
ROGER LUCERO, left, from Carmen, and DION MAES, from Mora, are staying in their truck at the evacuation center in Las Vegas. They both left their homes because of the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
NATHAN SANDOVAL, from Espanola, walks by his great-uncle's '57 Chevy 2-door that was destroyed when the Calf Canyon Hermits Peak Fire burning through Tierra Monte, north of Las Vegas. He and his dad are helping his great-uncle, Andrew Sandoval, secure his property.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Colfax County Sheriff's Office Deputy PAUL MAY advises a resident that there is a mandatory evacuation order in place. Along Hwy 434 near Black Lake where the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire is advancing.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
JUANITO BACA cleans out anything flammable from around his girlfriend's house near the Gallinas Canyon in Las Vegas. The Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire is burning through the canyon behind him.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
BRIANNA VALENCIA-ENCINIAS and her son LUCAS ENCINIAS, 8, walk their 4 goats in a field in Las Vegas as the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire burns southwest of town. Their family had been evacuated from Rociada and are now staying at her grandparent's farm along with their chickens, goats, horses, dogs and other animals.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
CODY RIVERA, 18, is reflected in the screen of his phone as he shows pictures of his family ranch that was lost in the fire. Rivera, a New Mexico Highlands University freshman, didn't take the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires seriously at first. But, about a week and a half... the fires reached the property, swallowing most of it. 'There's nothing up there no more,' he told the Journal, except around 15 trees that may survive. 'Everything else was black, and ash, and dead ... it looks like the moon.'
© Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
CODY RIVERA, 18, at his family ranch that was lost in the fire. Rivera, a New Mexico Highlands University freshman, didn't take the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires seriously at first. But, about a week and a half... the fires reached the property, swallowing most of it. 'There's nothing up there no more,' he told the Journal, except around 15 trees that may survive. 'Everything else was black, and ash, and dead ... it looks like the moon.'
© Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A herd of Elk clear a fence while wandering from field to field near the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires. The wildfires currently burning just west of Las Vegas, combined to became the largest in New Mexico state history.
© Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Pondarosa pine trees black and burned along Hwy 94 after the Calf Canyon Hermits Peak Fire burned through Tierra Monte, north of Las Vegas.
© Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Horses graze in a field while as the Big Hole Fire at Belen Bosque rages in the distance.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
The McBride Fire near the village of Ruidoso continues to burn through forest covered hillsides just outside of village limits to the north of highway 70 and state road 48.
© Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
A woman rides her bike at sunset near Roosevelt Park in Southeast Albuquerque while smoke from the wildfires cover the skies.
© Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire
Robet E. Rosales

Robert E. Rosales is a staff photographer for the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico's largest newspaper where he concentrates on issues such as immigration and breaking news. Robert also teaches photojournalism at the University of New Mexico. Roberts imagery from the Albuquerque Journal is available through ZUMA Press.:839



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