New report details New Mexico’s worst fire season

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The 2022 fire season was the worst in New Mexico history and people living in the burn scars are still dealing with the devastation.

Now, a new report from the National Weather Service details just how devastating it was.

“The weather aspect of it was just never ending, the never ceasing wind and high wind events during the month of April,” said Randall Hergert a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

In some cases the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire would spread by 30,000 acres in one day. However, wind was not the only factor. 

“Unbelievably dry conditions,” Hergert said. “Had to come up with new terms besides ‘bone dry’, it’s just ‘bone dry’ does not describe how dry it was.”

It was so unbelievably dry that the dew point near Truth or Consequences, on April 18, was -24 degrees Fahrenheit. That means you would have to cool the air temperatures to -24 degrees Fahrenheit to make moisture. If you put the ingredients of exceptionally dry conditions with the highs winds you get high fire danger.

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque issued 54 red flag warnings meaning high fire danger is imminent, making it one of the busiest fire seasons for the weather service.  

After the season ended, it caused hundreds of thousands of acres of land to be destroyed. The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire burned more than 341,000 acres, and the Black Fire burned more than 325,000 acres, making it the top two largest fires in New Mexico history.  

And that is only two, many other fires broke out including the McBride Fire that charred parts of Ruidoso and ended up killing an elderly couple who were not able to evacuate.

With winter fast approaching, a good snowpack will be the main topic of discussion leading into fire season 2023.

For more, visit, the National Weather Services’ website.