Climate Change

Published on June 11th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

Arizona Wildfires Have Burned Down 30 Homes, Forced 10,000 to Evacuate, & Now Headed for New Mexico {VIDEO & PICTURES}

Wildfires sparked in part by exceptionally severe drought in Arizona (and plenty of other U.S. states) as well as extreme heat are out of control, have already taken out 31 homes, 24 outbuildings, and a truck. Nearly 10,000 people have also been forced to evacuate so far.

These fires are expected to cross over into New Mexico soon as well.

arizona fire picture

"An oasis of green in the desert southwest, the Apache National Forest covers the mountains due east of Phoenix and spills across the border with New Mexico. In late May and early June 2011, the island of forest became fuel for one of the largest fires in Arizona history, the Wallow Fire. This image, taken by the Landsat-7 satellite on June 7, shows the northern edge of the fire. The image was made with infrared light. Bright red spots are actively burning areas, and darker red areas are freshly burned ground. Unburned forest and grassland is green, while sparsely planted earth or bare ground is pale pink. In many places, the fire has burned right to the edge of the forest. The image shows that the fire is intense: It has thoroughly burned the forest leaving few ribbons or patches of green in its wake. As of June 8, the Wallow Fire had burned 389,000 acres (608 square miles) and was completely uncontained. Several communities have been evacuated, and the Apache National Forest is closed to the public. The Wallow Fire started on May 29, 2011." NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

Arizona sky at sunset full of smoke from the wildfires.

They are headed towards two important power lines as well. If the power lines must be cut, owner El Paso Electric has already warned its 372,000 customers that rolling blackouts could occur.

“The fire has now burned 639 square miles of forest, an increase of 114 square miles from a day earlier, officials said Friday,” the AP reports.

Officially, the fires are only 5% contained (but the percentage is believed to be a bit higher in reality).

“Lighters winds Thursday and Friday have helped the 3,000 firefighters on the lines make progress, but critical fire conditions remain, said Jim Whittington, a spokesman for the teams battling the fire. High winds are expected to return with a vengeance on Saturday.”

The fire is reportedly the 2nd-largest wildfire in Arizona’s history.

Related Stories on Planetsave:

  1. American Southwest Heading for Permanent Drought
  2. Eastern Africa Heading to More Frequent Drought
  3. Dual Amazon Droughts Alarm Scientists
  4. Mississippi River Floods, Texas Drought, and Global Weirding (& Food Prices/Crises)
  5. Amazon Gets Hit with Extreme Drought, Perhaps Worst Ever (Global Weirding?)

Pictures via corrales_amandaNASA Goddard Photo and Videosnowpeak


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



Back to Top ↑