New Mexico fires expected to spread as residents flee

Windy weather has fanned flames

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Massive New Mexico wildfires are forcing additional evacuations. 

While crews got a bit of a break on Monday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 50 mph were predicted to fan the flames on Tuesday, with dangerous conditions lasting through the weekend.

FIRE IN SOUTHWEST FORCES MORE EVACUATIONS

The Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fires – which merged last week – have a combined acreage of 145,854 acres, or nearly 228 square miles. 

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the fires were 20% contained, with 1,085 personnel working amidst another red flag warning. 

The state has seven active fires across 223,979 acres and two new large fires were reported in New Mexico on Monday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

Another wildfire burning near Los Alamos National Laboratory prompted people to evacuate over the weekend and other residents were told to prepare for evacuations should the situation deteriorate. 

"We will keep fighting for every possible resource for New Mexico communities affected by ongoing wildfires," New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a Facebook post.

DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER AROUND US THREATENS EFFORT TO CONTAIN BLAZES

In April, two people were killed by a wildfire in the southern community of Ruidoso that destroyed more than 200 homes.

The NIFC said that 12 uncontained large fires have burned 254,099 acres across five states. 

Nearly 3,500 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents in the Southwest, southern and eastern regions.

More than 1.1 million acres have burned across the country since Jan. 1. 

Wildfires have become a year-round threat in the drought-stricken West

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Scientists and fire experts say they are moving faster and burning hotter than ever due to climate change

The Associated Press contributed to this report.