Residents of a village in southern New Mexico were ordered to flee their homes without taking time to grab any belongings due to fast-moving wildfires.

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Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico declared a state of emergency following wind-whipped wildfires that forced thousands to evacuate a mountain village. The wildfires, which have already claimed one life and left another person seriously injured, have ravaged over 500 structures, with the extent of damage to homes still unclear. Efforts to combat the fires are being bolstered by the imminent arrival of a top-level fire management team, as the blazes have scorched a total of 31 square miles in Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The cause of the fires is under investigation, though they are currently listed as human-caused by the Southwest Coordination Center, adding to a history of destructive wildfires in New Mexico.

Residents faced urgent evacuation orders as flames approached the village, with many describing a chaotic and terrifying scene. Power outages affected parts of the area, prompting evacuees to seek refuge in neighboring cities like Roswell. To ensure the safety of animals and livestock, they were moved to state fairgrounds in Roswell as part of the evacuation efforts. The situation remains challenging, with officials urging continued vigilance as the wildfires continue to pose a threat to the region's residents and landscape.

Regional History | New Mexico Wildfires

New Mexico experiences wildfires fairly frequently, especially during the dry and hot seasons. The frequency of wildfires in New Mexico can vary from year to year depending on factors such as weather conditions, vegetation density, and human activities. The state has a history of wildfires due to its arid climate and vast areas of forest and grasslands.

New Mexico has a long history of wildfires, with some recent blazes being among the largest and most destructive in the state's history:

  • Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire (2022): This fire is the largest recorded in New Mexico's history, burning an estimated 341,735 acres. Originating in the Santa Fe National Forest, it caused extensive damage and required the evacuation of several communities.
  • Black Fire (2022): Occurring in the Gila National Forest, this wildfire consumed over 325,000 acres. It is one of the state's most significant fires in terms of area burned.
  • Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire (2012): Before the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire, this was the largest wildfire in New Mexico's history, scorching approximately 297,845 acres in the Gila Wilderness. It was caused by lightning strikes and led to significant ecological and environmental impacts.
  • Las Conchas Fire (2011): This fire burned through 156,593 acres and is particularly notable for its impact on the Los Alamos National Laboratory and surrounding areas. It started due to a fallen power line and quickly spread due to dry conditions and strong winds.
  • Cerro Grande Fire (2000): Initially set as a controlled burn intended to reduce forest undergrowth, this fire got out of control and burned around 47,650 acres. It led to the evacuation of Los Alamos and destroyed more than 400 homes.

The frequency and intensity of wildfires in New Mexico have increased over the years, attributed largely to climate change, prolonged droughts, and forest management practices. These fires have not only led to significant economic losses but also impacted air quality, wildlife habitats, and community structures.

Top 6 Wildfire Prepping Tips

  1. Keep your surroundings clear of dry leaves, brush, and other flammable materials within a significant distance from your home.
  2. Create a defensible space by maintaining a well-watered garden and using fire-resistant plants.
  3. Develop an evacuation plan and ensure all family members are aware of it.
  4. Prepare an emergency kit with essentials such as water, food, medications, important documents, and first aid supplies.
  5. Stay informed about local fire conditions and warnings through reliable sources like local authorities or weather alerts.
  6. Regularly practice fire drills with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of a wildfire.

Our Resources:

Wildfire Evacuations: Knowing When to Bug Out

Protecting Your Property Against Wildfires

Fire Evacuation Challenge

Droughts 101


Fire is a vital element for preppers as it serves multiple essential functions in emergency preparedness. From providing warmth and cooking food to purifying water and signaling for help, fire plays a critical role in survival scenarios. Preppers understand the significance of fire as a versatile tool that can enhance their comfort, security, and overall well-being during emergencies. Therefore, mastering fire-related skills and techniques is a cornerstone of effective preparedness for preppers.

Despite its benefits, fire can also pose significant risks if not handled with caution and expertise. Fire safety skills are paramount for preppers to prevent accidents, injuries, and property damage while utilizing fire in emergency situations. Understanding fire safety protocols, practicing proper fire-building techniques, and knowing how to extinguish fires safely are essential competencies that preppers must cultivate to ensure their own safety and that of their surroundings.

Incorporating fire safety training into their preparedness plans equips preppers with the knowledge and confidence to use fire responsibly and effectively in various scenarios. By honing their fire safety skills through practice, experimentation, and continuous learning, preppers can minimize the likelihood of accidents and maximize the benefits of using fire as a valuable resource in emergency situations. Prioritizing fire safety not only enhances the effectiveness of fire-related activities but also reinforces overall preparedness by promoting a culture of responsibility and caution in handling this essential element.

Wildfire Evacuation: Knowing When to Bug Out

August 11, 2022
Wildfires are either natural occurring disasters or man-made. It can appear suddenly, do irreparable damage, and last for hours, and in some cases, even days or weeks. This leaves people in its path with more than enough time to evacuate their homes. Knowing when to bug out, is the key.

Protecting Your Property Against Wildfires

July 29, 2022
As the climate is changing, wildfires are becoming increasingly more common these days. These devastating flames have impacted millions of people and properties. While wildfires cannot be avoided entirely, safeguarding your property and home can help reduce the potential damage.

Australia Brush Fires

January 8, 2020
Australia is reeling from continent wide brush fires. The fires have been continuous since September 2019. Australia’s southeast coast has been hit the hardest, but nearly all of the island has been ravished by wildfires; some set accidentally and others deliberately. Over 20 million acres across the country have burned so far, and there are still months to go in this 2019-2020 fire season.

Fire Evacuation Challenge

December 16, 2019
It is important that preparation is coupled with practice to establish habits that become automatic when an emergency occurs. Panic can be your worst enemy in an emergency situation. Practicing your fire evacuation plan can significantly reduce panic and increase your chances of survival.

House Fire Prevention

April 11, 2016
House fire prevention begins with understanding the most common causes of house fires and taking precautions to avoid these situations.

House Fire Preparedness

February 14, 2016
House Fires can spread quickly, and within minutes a home can be engulfed in flames. In the United States, approximately 2,500 people die annually in house fires, and another 12,600 are injured.