It's been a spring marked by continuing high winds in this part of New Mexico. High winds in country as dry as this are frightening; any lightning bolt, cigarette, or spark can lead to run-away forest fires, spread rapidly by the wind.
One such forest fire has been burning in the Manzano Mountains, not far from Albuquerque, for over two weeks now. On Tuesday it was reported to be 90% contained, but yesterday's roaring winds rekindled it, and sent it out of control again. As of this evening, it had consumed 11,000 acres. Albuquerque's normally blue skies are heavy with drifting smoke.
Officials are unable to say how many homes and businesses have been lost, because the heavy smoke prohibits visibility. Today's winds were between 40 to 60 m.p.h. and kept air tankers and helicopter crews on the ground. Approximately 500 people, from Torreon and Tajique and everything in-between those two towns have been evacuated, and others have been warned to be prepared to evacuate.
This fire is burning along the scenic route where Sherry and I did our photo shoot back in September.
My heart goes out to these home- and business-owners.