Ute Park Wildfire Watch

For months New Mexico knew that exceptional drought conditions and an historic lack of rainfall and snowpack would result in a busier-than-normal fire season.

If there was any doubt about that, it was erased with the eruption of the Ute Park Fire in northern New Mexico on May 31. In only 18 hours, the fire had already engulfed 18,000 acres between the small, tight-knit communities of Eagle Nest and Cimarron, New Mexico.

The cause of the blaze wasn’t immediately known by forestry officials, but it came a day after the temporary closure of the Santa Fe National Forest and a slew of fire restrictions implemented across the state to prevent blazes such as this.

On May 22, a fire in the popular Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico was sparked and was still burning nearly two weeks later.

The acreage on June 3: Nearly 30,000.

The cause: An abandoned illegal campfire.

The Ute Park Fire quickly led to the mandatory evacutations of some small local communities, as well as the nearby Philmont Scout Ranch.

On the evening of June 1, flames could be seen licking the air seemingly right behind the pinpricks of lights that represented Cimarron. Forestry officials said they weren’t concerned the town was immediately threatened; firefighters were working constantly to keep the fire at bay.

So long as you don’t mind 100 degrees in dry heat in many parts of the state, the climate across New Mexico is generally a very favorable one throughout the year.

There’s little cause for concern in terms of potential natural disasters, but it’s wildfires such as these that serve as a reminder of Mother Nature’s potency and ferocity no matter where you go.

As one Eagle Nest resident told us at a library-turned-Red Cross shelter: “We’re always scared, when the conditions are as dry as they have been.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s