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Rapidly growing wildfires in New Mexico prompt new evacuation orders

The Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires expanded over 30,000 acres in 24 hours.

New mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in parts of New Mexico due to the rapid growth of a massive fire east of Santa Fe.

Since merging into a single blaze a week ago, the Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires have burned 97,064 acres as of Saturday morning – a growth of more than 30,000 acres in 24 hours, according to the state fire updates.

The blaze, which primarily affects San Miguel and Mora counties, is 32 percent contained and more than 1,000 firefighters responded.

High winds on Friday caused the fire to spread rapidly east toward Las Vegas and south through Gallinas Canyon, fire officials said.

“It looks like part of the fire that had continued to grow overnight collapsed and sent a lot of embers and caused the fire to grow significantly south,” said Jason Coil, fire chief. the operations section of a southwest incident management team. during a briefing on Saturday.

Several southern areas are now in a state of mandatory evacuation amid rapidly growing fires. San Miguel and Mora county officials warned that “the emerging situation remains extremely serious and failure to evacuate could be fatal.”

Fire officials expect higher temperatures, lower relative humidity and windy conditions to make the fire day very active on Saturday.

“Today we are supposed to have southwesterly winds… Tomorrow stronger and more southerly winds,” Coil said. “So there’s going to be a big focus today on building and maintaining that line and making sure we’re doing everything we can to protect the structures inside the perimeter.”

Fire danger persists in parts of the Southwest this weekend, with strong, gusty winds amid persistent dry conditions across the region. Red flag warnings are in effect from Nevada to New Mexico.

Several large wildfires continue to burn from the Texas Panhandle to Arizona, most of which are in New Mexico.

Widespread and relentless drought continues to provide enough dry fuel for the fires to spread, with little relief in sight for the foreseeable future for much of the drought areas. More than two-thirds of New Mexico now faces extreme drought conditions, while the exceptional drought zone has more than doubled in size in the past week, encompassing more than 15% of the state.

ABC News’ Dan Peck contributed to this report.

ABC News

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