MORA, NM (AP) — As more than 2,700 firefighters in northern New Mexico continued to battle the nation’s largest active wildfire on Sunday, many evacuees grew increasingly worried about their future after weeks away from home
The largest fire in the state’s recorded history has been burning for six weeks now, and some of the hundreds of people forced to evacuate say their financial resources are dwindling.
Amity Maes, a 30-year-old Mora resident who said she was 8.5 months pregnant and penniless, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that she had been bouncing for weeks before finding refuge in a center for evacuation to Glorieta, where she believes she contracted COVID-19.
Glorieta Adventure Camps officials said there had been 67 cases of coronavirus among evacuees, some of which required hospitalization.
After her period of self-isolation, Maes said she was told to leave and go to a hotel in Santa Fe where she might be closer to a hospital if she started working.
But the hotel didn’t have her reservation when she arrived and when she finally got a room, it was only for one night.
“They keep encouraging us to go to Albuquerque” where evacuees are staying in hotels, Maes told the newspaper. “We have no gasoline. We have no income. There are no gas coupons. There is nothing. I’m on a quarter tank of gas, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.
The Glorieta Retreat Center has housed hundreds of people this month and hosted a dozen organizations providing services and resources to evacuees. But he is scheduled to close his shelter this week to prepare for his annual summer camps.
Staff members are trying to make sure all center guests have somewhere to go when the doors close, but some families aren’t sure where they’ll land.
Heather Nordquist, who has dealt with issues affecting residents of northern New Mexico, said the needs of evacuees were not being met.
She raised about $3,000 in donations, which she used for food, gift and gas cards, and supplies for evacuees.
“I’m so discouraged that our tax money isn’t getting to these evacuees,” Nordquist told the New Mexican. “My heart breaks for the people of Mora.”
Meanwhile, the wildfire remained 40% contained around its perimeter on Sunday.
A cold front that arrived Friday night lowered temperatures, raised humidity levels and provided cloud cover that “shades combustibles so the fire has to work harder and have a hard time burning that material,” the official said. fire behavior analyst Dennis Burns. “It actually gave us decent conditions to fight this fire.”
At 484 square miles (1,253 square kilometers), the fire is so large that it has been split into three separately managed areas by three of the nation’s 17 largest Type I response teams.
The merged Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire is among five major active fires in the state and 16 nationally, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The Associated Press