No relief in sight for New Mexico’s record wildfire

Jason Sickles
The Lookout

June 1 may be the official start of hurricane season, but a mammoth wildfire in New Mexico could also have everyone's attention for weeks or months to come.

"It's really bad," Debra Rivera, a New Mexico resident told Yahoo! on Friday. "The sky is completely brown."

And getting worse. The Associated Press reported Friday morning that the blaze in the Gila National Forest has grown to 339 square miles, making it the largest wildfire in New Mexico's history.

Rivera lives 250 miles from the fire, but says smoke is now seeping into their home's air conditioning vents.

"My daughter has asthma so she has been having a really hard time," said Rivera, a 28-year-old schoolteacher.

More than 1,200 firefighters are battling the fire that so far has injured six people, the AP reported. With only 10 percent of fire contained and weather conditions ripe for fueling the flames, officials fear the blaze could smolder until the summer rainy season in late July.

"It's going to keep going up," New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said of the acreage burned. "Be prepared for that."

Not welcome news for Rivera, who is training to run her first marathon in October.

"All the smoke is making it hard to breathe, so I'm stuck on the treadmill," she said.

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