Largest wildfire in the US spreads toward mountain resort towns in northern New Mexico, prompting officials to issue evacuation alerts, while a separate wildfire burns 20 homes in California state.
Wildfires have edgedtowards mountain resort towns in northern New Mexicoand engulfed an enclave of multi-million-dollar mansions in southern California state.
Residents of around 900 houses were under evacuation incoastal California and one firefighter was injured when awildfire fire torched about 81 hectares in LagunaNiguel on Wednesday, Orange County officials said on Thursday.
In New Mexico, meanwhile, more than 300 homes and otherbuildings have been destroyed in wildfires burning since earlylast month. As westerly winds picked up on Thursday, firefighterstorched fire breaks and set up sprinkler systems to save ranchesand homes around 24 km south of Angel Fire, a skiresort town.
Crews bulldozed containment lines to stop the blaze from gettinginto Black Lake, Angel Fire, and even the Taos area, known forits UNESCO World Heritage Site Native American community.
"We are red flag conditions today so high, high winds," ToddAbel, a leader on the inter-agency team fighting the fire, tolda briefing.
"Day 36," fire spokesperson Bill Morse said at a briefing on Wednesday night. "Ever since April 6, this fire has grown day by day by day."
READ MORE:More New Mexico villagers flee as largest active US wildfire burns
Residents return to rubble
To the south, residents returned to the rubble of homesbuilt on land that has been in their families since before thearea became part of the United States in the mid-19th century.
All that was left of Michael Salazar's modular home inTierra Monte was twisted metal. Melon sprouts had come up in hisgreenhouse, which survived.
"It's not rebuildable at least in my lifetime but futuregenerations can work with what we have," said Salazar, 55, whosaid he does not have insurance and blames the federalgovernment for starting the fire that destroyed his home.
The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire began in part with aprescribed burn by the US Forest Service that went out ofcontrol on April 6. The blaze then merged with a separate fire,the cause of which is still under investigation.
The wildfire, on track to become the largest in New Mexico'shistory, has burned over 105,141 hectares, orabout two-thirds the size of Greater London. The fire is 29 percent contained.
US President Joe Biden has ordered federal aid for firerecovery efforts.
READ MORE: Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona scramble to corral wildfires