• Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023


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Former fire chief dead, more than 120000 acres burned in southwest wildfires – The Hill

At least one person died after massive wildfires spread across the southwestern region of the U.S., burning up more than 120,000 acres of land, primarily in New Mexico, Nebraska and Arizona.

Wildfires in Nebraska killed a retired fire chief from Cambridge, 66-year-old John Trumble, who died on Friday night fighting off a blaze in Red Willow County, the Associated Press reported.

At least three large fires were reported as active in Nebraska as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Fire, Weather and Avalanche Center.

The Nebraska State Patrol on Saturday evening said it was still working to battle fires in several areas across the southwestern part of the state. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) activated 32 personnel with the Nebraska National Guard to assist with emergency operations.

In Arizona, about 615 personnel are fighting the Crooks Fire near Prescott, which has spread to more than 3,000 acres and was roughly 15 percent contained as of a Sunday afternoon update.

Several fire engines, helicopters and other firefighting equipment have been deployed to battle the wildfire.

The Tunnel Fire near Flagstaff, Ariz., is only about 3 percent contained. The conflagration has spread to more than 20,000 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service in Coconino National Forest.

About 366 personnel are fighting the fire, including one attack plane and two helicopters. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) praised the “great team effort” by emergency personnel in a tweet on Sunday.

In New Mexico, the Cooks Peak fire torched more than 51,000 acres in San Miguel County and was zero percent contained as of Sunday. Evacuation centers were set up at a few centers across the region.

The Calf Canyon fire combined with the Hermit Peak fire near Gallinas Canyon to burn more than 54,000 acres, according to a government database on disasters.

The merged fire is about 12 percent contained. The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office and Mora County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuations in several areas.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham (D) on Sunday tweeted information about multiple evacuation centers in Las Vegas and Raton areas.

She has declared a state of emergency in Mora, Colfax, Lincoln, San Miguel, and Valencia counties.