As summer approaches, many people are getting ready to leave town and enjoy the great outdoors, but with wildfires raging throughout the state, those plans are being interrupted for some. As of May 23, the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire was at a 40% containment level and has burned more than 311,000 acres around Mora and Las Vegas near Gallinas Canyon. The Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez was 85% contained and burned more than 45,000 acres, while the Black Fire, 31 miles northwest of Truth or Consequences, was 8% contained and burned more than 146,000 acres. The fires prompted federal officials to close portions of the Cibola, Carson and Santa Fe National Forests, where many locals go camping, hiking and fishing during the summer months.
While at North Domingo Baca Park several park-goers were asked what their plans are for the summer and how the wildfires are affecting those plans.
Daryl Chestnut, who sells dogs and operates a transport and vending machine company, replied while at the park with his friend Tony Owens. “We’re entrepreneurs so it’s not really affecting us, but we hope it’s not affecting too many other people also. So we’re just really focused on our business, point A to point B,” he said.
Navy veteran Tony Owens replied, “My plans for the summer is, I am a sports dad, I am a disabled veteran. My kids are going to be playing a plethora of sports. We’re concerned about the air quality. I also have a problem with veterans that are out in these areas. Disabled veterans are out there, and I’m worried about them. People need to get out there and check on those guys because they’re secluded because of their PTSD. They could be in the path of these fires, and me, myself as a veteran, I’m worried about those guys.”
While sitting on a park bench with a couple kids near the playground, Bethany responded, “Well, we had wanted to go camping, but since the closures in the forests we are hoping to find a place in southern Colorado to still do the camping. So, we’re hoping to make that happen, but who knows if the closures might go up that far.”
Carolyn responded while with some youngsters near the park playground: “Well for summer vacation we’re probably, in the middle of June, going to be going up to Idaho where we have some family property. So we worry about fires in Idaho as well. And we’re always concerned about fires in New Mexico. And yet not having access to the mountains like the Jemez Mountains right now is kind of sad, but we’re coping and hoping they get the fires under control. Hoping the monsoons come.”
While sitting across from his wife Carolyn, John answered, “Well our plans typically are to go out of state anyway, but our plans for the spring were definitely interrupted. We usually like to go to the Jemez. In the summer, we kind of leave the state anyway.”