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California sends additional firefighting aid to New Mexico

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Madison Hirneisen | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – In response to wildfires burning throughout New Mexico, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the deployment of additional firefighting support to the state Wednesday.

Several fires are currently burning across New Mexico, with the largest being the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Fires, which have burned more than 303,000 acres and are at 34 percent containment as of Thursday. Meanwhile, the Cerro Pelado fire has scorched more than 45,600 acres and is at 74 percent containment, and the Bear Trap fire has burned more than 19,000 acres and is 28 percent contained as of Thursday.

Newsom initially deployed firefighting support to New Mexico on April 30. This additional support includes three strike teams with 15 California Office of Emergency Services engines and 55 personnel, according to the governor’s office. In total, California has sent five strike teams to New Mexico from agencies across the state.

With one of the nation’s largest firefighting forces, it’s common for California to deploy mutual aid to fires across state borders. Newsom also sent help under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in July of 2021, when he sent fire personnel to Oregon to assist with the Bootleg Fire that burned more than 413,000 acres, eventually spreading south into Northern California. 

Other states across the nation have also responded to wildfires in California by sending firefighting support in years past. 

“California has been very lucky to have been the recipient of mutual aid from states across our country, from Texas and New York, New Jersey, and certainly our neighboring states here on the West Coast, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and New Mexico,” Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication for Cal OES, told The Center Square. “When we have an opportunity to kind of repay that support, we certainly look to fulfill that and try to help protect the communities in the same way that they’ve helped protect our communities.”