It’s only April, and New Mexico has already seen year-long fire activity that will only get worse as of today. 2022-04-27 11:55:19


Weather conditions are expected to worsen due to the fires in the coming days. Peak fire season in New Mexico is not until June. The Which months have the most fires? It’s June, May, July and April – in that order – so the season still has two months to go.

This year’s fire season had an early start, “about a week and a half, about two weeks earlier than average,” said Andrew Church, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque.

“Because of climate change and massive droughts across the western United States and especially the Great Basin, there’s no moisture in the soil anymore,” Church told CNN on Wednesday.

A family was evacuated as the McBride fire approached their property in Ruidoso, New Mexico, earlier this month.

Because the ground is so dry, Church said, the slight increase in relative humidity that the area would normally see after a cold front has passed no longer occurs.

“We don’t have this flow from the soil, from the fuel, from the herbs, from the plants, which … (returns moisture to) the atmosphere,” Church said.

Church explained that this slight increase in relative humidity would “help keep small fires under control… (and) stop the rapid spread… of bushfires.”

Fire weather has become critical again

Conditions have become more favorable over the past few days for firefighters in their efforts to contain, after past weeks Bad fire weather. But that is expected to end starting Wednesday.

Weather will begin to deteriorate throughout the day in parts of the southwest, marking the start of a multi-day fire hazard that will peak on Friday with strong winds.

A serious fire hazard (level 2 of 3) is in place for parts of western New Mexico and northeastern Arizona on Wednesday.

Daily heating, caused by clear skies, would result in a single-digit relative humidity. Winds over northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico will be between 20-25 mph with higher gusts. These warm, dry and windy conditions are a recipe for increased fire spread and ignition.

The surrounding areas will experience a high fire risk under dry and breezy conditions.

An additional weather threat will be a concern across eastern New Mexico and eastern Colorado — thunderstorms.

These potential afternoon thunderstorms could bring “large hail, damaging winds, lightning strikes, brief heavy rain, and blowing dust,” according to the NWS in Albuquerque.

The key word here is Brief, As rain is not likely to reach the ground in most areas – these are called dry thunderstorms.

Dry thunderstorms on Wednesday are the only chance Albuquerque has to receive measurable precipitation this month, and the chance is low. April could end with just a trace of rainfall, the first month with no measurable precipitation in more than three years for the city.

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Dry thunderstorms are not helpful in fire suppression efforts, and are, in fact, unfavorable.

“As these thunderstorms move over very dry fuel, isolated fires will be possible,” the Storm Forecasting Center said.

Also, strong winds resulting from these storms increase the spread of current and new fires.

The critical fire risk area will expand Thursday to include much of central and southern New Mexico, with more dry and windy conditions.

Friday looks set to be the worst day for fire weather as winds can reach 65mph in the area.

“The strongest winds expected on Friday as some very critical conditions are likely across southern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico,” the storm center said.

Extremely critical fire conditions are the highest threat level issued by the Weather Service.

Space images reveal the extent of wildfires in New Mexico

severe wind conditions last weekend The height of the Hermits Fire (east of Santa Fe) expanded into the Calf Canyon Fire, creating a fire complex more than 180 miles from the ocean. This complex now measures 60,649 acres as of Wednesday, placing it among the 15 largest fires ever recorded in New Mexico.

New images released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show the extent of the current largest wildfires in New Mexico, the Hermit Peak/Calf Canyon and Cooks Peak fires. NASA provided three satellite images of the area near Santa Fe on April 23.

Peak Chef’s Fire (northeast of Hermit Peak/Calf Canyon) has burned across 54,021 acres as of Tuesday morning.

These fires are at high fire risk (level 1 of 3) for Wednesday, with conditions worsening on Thursday and Friday.

Chances are things will get worse before they get better, Church said. “We may have to wait a while for the monsoons to start, hopefully sometime in late June.”

CNN’s Chad Myers, Judson Jones and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.