The Black Fire expected to become the third largest wildfire in New Mexico history — already at 154,911 acres

The Black Fire expected to become the third largest wildfire in New Mexico history — already at 154,911 acres
Photo by NASA

Latest update from officials setting another current wildfire in New Mexico to become the third largest fire in state's records. Overnight it grew by more than 8,000 acres, to 154,911 acres. By the end of the day it is expected to overcome the Las Conchas fire, that burned 156,593 acres in 2011.

The Black Fire began burning on May 13 in the Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico. On May 16, the fire blew up, tripling in size from 18,000 acres to more than 56,000 acres, producing a small pyrocumulonimbus cloud as the fire ran east and crossed the Continental Divide.

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As of May 24 more than 600 firefighters working the blaze, but contained perimeter at just 11%. NASA's Operational Land Imager installed on Landsat 8 provided new images, showing the affected area (as of May 21).

Today the Black Fire is just one of several wildfires in New Mexico. Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire already became the first largest in the state, exceeding 311,000 acres. So far in 2022 New Mexico has had more than 300 fires, burning more than 600,000 acres. That is five times more than in all of 2021.

Southwest USA, and New Mexico in particular, is in the midst of megadrought. By the middle of the May at least 85 percent of the state was experiencing extreme to exceptional drought.

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