There are two “Type 1” wildfire incidents in the United States as of May 18, and they’re both in New Mexico, according to a U.S. Forest Service map that tracks current large wildfire incidents.

One is already the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

Where are the fires located in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire in San Miguel County has burned over 299,600 acres as of May 18 and is currently 34% contained.

The fire, labeled by the Forest Service as human caused, is the result of two fires that merged. According to The Washington Post, the cause of the Calf Canyon fire is under investigation, while the Hermits Peak fire “was caused by spot fires — sparked by flying embers — that erupted beyond the boundaries of a controlled fire.”

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New Mexico has another Type 1 fire — the Cerro Pelado fire — which has burned more than 45,600 acres.

The state also has two Type 2 fires:

  • Black fire: More than 53,000 acres burned, Catron County, no containment status, cause undetermined.
  • Bear Trap fire: More than 15,000 acres burned, Socorro County, 28% contained, cause undetermined.

Wildfire danger is growing

On Monday, the nonprofit First Street Foundation released a map showing that more than 70 million properties in the United States are at some risk of wildfire.

A Washington Post analysis of the data reported that “an estimated 16 percent of the country’s population today lives in hazardous areas.”

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Wildfires in 2001

In 2021, the Dixie fire in California was the nation’s largest, with more than 960,000 acres burned. California was also hit by the Caldor fire, which burned more than 221,000 acres.