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Wind, drought combine to make western US fires unstoppable

California Wildfires
Posted at 10:51 AM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 12:51:49-04

Firefighting managers in northern New Mexico say the flames of the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. have become unstoppable as they advance and burn trees sucked dry of moisture over decades of drought.

Thursday marks another day of strong winds in the Rocky Mountain foothills where the fire is burning through Ponderosa pine forests and threatening numerous small communities.

The fire has blackened more than 405 square miles since it started last month.

In Southern California, a wildfire Wednesday in the coastal community of Laguna Niguel burned more than 20 homes, many of them multimillion-dollar mansions.

Although not everyone in Orange County is threatened by the wildfire, officials are urging many to take precautions due to poor air quality.

“Everyone should take precautions to stay cool and drink plenty of water to reduce health risks related to the heat and wildfire smoke,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, county health officer. “Additional precautions are especially needed for older adults, those with preexisting medical conditions like heart or lung disease, those with disabilities, children, and those who may be working outdoors.”

In the Midwest, a red flag warning was issued for increased wildfire danger.