“Dry lightning with sudden and strong erratic wind shifts from any nearby storm” could lead to rapid spreading or shifting of the fire lines, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Albuquerque warned.
Winds from storm outflows could gust as high as 60 mph, in addition to a level 1 de 5 risk for damaging thunderstorm winds with a few of the storms.
“Any new or ongoing fires will be very hard to control,” the warning said.
The cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Roswell in New Mexico all have the potential to tie or break record highs this week, making weather conditions at the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak wildfire even more dire.
Exacerbating the problem is the mega drought the area has been suffering for years that’s dried out vegetation and turned it into ready fuel for any fires that start
According to National Interagency Fire Center data, this year has seen more fires nationwide — 24,762 — than any previous year tracked in the last decade. It ranks fourth in the most acres burned to date.
The previous largest fire in New Mexico was the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in 2012 that burned 297,845 hectáreas, the Geographic Area Coordination Centers report.
So far this year, sobre 480,000 acres have been scorched in New Mexico — more than was burned in the previous two years combined, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. That number is almost double the yearly average of 260,000 hectáreas.
It’s not just the numbers that are frightening: The fire season goes into July, with fire activity across the state typically peaking in June.