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The 5 Largest Wildfires in New Mexico History

April 20 – The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire burned more than 300,000 acres two years ago, becoming the largest fire in New Mexico history.

Here’s a look at the five largest wildfires in state history:

1. Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire

The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire burned 341,735 acres in northern New Mexico.

The fire started on April 6, 2022 and was not contained until August 2022. The Hermits Peak Fire started as an escaped prescribed burn. The Calf Canyon Fire was a remnant of a funeral pyre. The two fires merged on April 22 and were only brought under control four months later.

The fire started in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest and burned in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in San Miguel, Mora and Taos counties.

2. Black fire

The Black Fire burned 325,136 hectares.

The Black Fire started on May 13, 2022 and was contained by July of that year. The Black Fire became the second largest wildfire in state history, behind the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire, which started burning just a month earlier.

The Black Fire burned in Sierra, Catron and Grant counties and burned more than 90% of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area, according to a 2023 Forest Service update.

The fire occurred northeast of Silver City.

3. Whitewater Baldy

In 2012, the Whitewater-Baldy Fire burned 297,845 acres.

The Whitewater-Baldy Fire was caused by two separate lightning strikes. The lightning strikes occurred near Mogollon Baldy and in the headwaters of Whitewater Creek. The fire started in May 2012 and was under control by the end of July. The fire occurred in Catron County in the Gila National Forest and on nearby private property.

At the height of the fire, 1,257 people were working to control the blaze, according to a fact sheet from the Southwest Fire Science Consortium.

4. Las Conchas Fire

The Las Conchas fire burned 156,593 hectares in 2011. At the time, it was the largest fire in the state’s history.

The Las Conchas fire was caused by a tree falling on a power line on June 26, 2011. The fire started in the Santa Fe National Forest. Much of Frijoles Canyon was badly burned, according to a National Park Service website.

5. Silverfire

The Silver Fire burned more than 138,000 acres in 2013.

The Silver Fire started on June 7, 2013 in the Gila National Forest, after lightning set fire to an area of ​​forest near Sawyers Peak. The fire was located east of Silver City. The burned area included very steep and rugged terrain.