(Photo: Reuters / Marcio J. Sanchez)
The Wallow Fire has threatened New Mexico for days with its heavy clouds of smoke. But the mammoth fire originating from eastern Arizona is now a real threat to Luna, N.M. – being less than half a mile away now.
Residents of Luna, just seven miles from the Arizona border, were ordered on Wednesday night to evacuate as the wildfire inches closer to the unincorporated village. They were given 24 hours to leave their homes.
Local firefighters have set up a line that will trigger 6,000 gallons of water that will hopefully dampen any flames that make it to the area, reports ABC-affiliate KOAT7.
Across the border in Arizona, the Wallow Fire has scorched over 600 square miles of land and is said to be the second largest wildfire in the state’s history. It began on May 29 and has quickly ballooned in size due to strong winds and high heat.
On Wednesday, Arizona residents from the town of Eagar and Springerville were evacuated. They join thousands of others from mountain communities who were evacuated days earlier.
The wildfire’s smoke can be seen in Wyoming, Nebraska and as far away as Iowa. The city of Albuquerque, which had an air-quality alert scheduled to end Thursday evening, extended the alert into next week.
“When significant smoke and odor exists, residents in the Albuquerque area should avoid physical activity outdoors,” stated the alert by the city Air Quality Division on Thursday. “People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low when they see or smell smoke.”
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has sent state National Guard troops to a reserve nearby Luna to prepare for the advancing wildfire and to help with evacuations.