Dangerously early wildfires burn 100,000 acres in three states

Apr 25, 2022

Wildfires raging across Arizona, Nebraska, and New Mexico are blamed for at least one death, thousands of evacuations, the loss of multiple structures, and the scorching of 130,000 acres of land—so far.

The Calf Canyon fire in New Mexico threatens hundreds of homes near Santa Fe. New Mexico officials say it’s rare to experience severe fire conditions in April, prompting Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to agree. “It’s going to be a tough summer,” Lujan Grisham said.

Northern Arizona is under a state of emergency as firefighters struggle to contain the Tunnel Fire about 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff that is responsible for burning “in its entirety” the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument according to the National Park Service.

In Nebraska, wildfires fueled by high winds and dry grass killed a retired fire chief and injured at least 11 other firefighters. Fires have been reported in 12 counties around the state since last Friday.

The official start to what was formerly known as “fire season” is still weeks away and it’s already been an active fire year in CaliforniaColorado, and Texas as well.

Responses to Gov. Ricketts’ 30×30 lies pour in

Last Friday, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts hosted the “Stop 30×30 Summit” in Lincoln where he was joined by former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert to spread lies and disinformation about the Biden administration’s America the Beautiful plan to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters.

One of the people who spoke up in countering Gov. Ricketts’ false claims about the America the Beautiful plan and the use of voluntary private land conservation easements was former Nebraska governor and former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson. “I believe its objectives are good, entirely voluntary and that Nebraska would be wise to embrace it,” Nelson said of the America the Beautiful plan in an op-ed for the Lincoln Journal Star.

CWP deputy director Aaron Weiss also countered the false characterization of the initiative as a “land grab,” as claimed by Gov. Ricketts and American Stewards of Liberty, which sponsored Friday’s summit. “I think it’s incredibly condescending for the governor to say that private landowners don’t know what’s best for their land,” Weiss said.


Quick hits

Exxon bans LGBTQ Pride flag, triggers employee backlash

Bloomberg

Study: Low producing oil wells cause 50% of emissions

E&E News

Colorado officials warn 2022 could be the worst wildfire year in the state’s history

Colorado Sun | Summit Daily News

Poll: Majority of Nevadans worry about climate change, wildfires

Reno Gazette Journal

Haaland’s first trip to Alaska includes visit to King Cove, finalizing land transfer options for Alaska Native veterans

Alaska Public Media | Anchorage Daily News | Associated Press | Alaska News Source [King Cove] | E&E news [King Cove] Juneau Empire [land transfer] | E&E News [land transfer] | Washington Post [land transfer]

Utah declares drought emergency for the 2nd year in a row

E&E News

Wildfires are burning more than 100,000 acres in three states

New York Times | The Guardian | CNN |  Washington Post | Reuters [New Mexico] | Associated Press [Nebraska] | Associated Press [New Mexico] | KPNX [Arizona]

Opinion: Celebrate National Park Week by protecting more parks

The Hill


Quote of the day

”As a person working with the education of Native American students of all ages, I work hard to provide students with safe places that foster a love of learning, sense of community, leadership, and respect for diversity. But sometimes the best learning environment is not a classroom at all – it’s the natural world. Public lands are one teacher who leaves us all in fascination and awe, no matter our age.”

Chris Gomez, educational administrator & former lieutenant governor of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, El Paso Matters

Picture this

image of black birds flying in front of snowy mountain

Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, including virtually the entire population of Pacific black brant, migrate to Izembek National Wildlife Refuge every year to get some much-needed rest and dine at one of the world’s largest eelgrass beds. Photos by Kristine Sowl / @USFWS

(featured image: The Tunnel Fire near Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo: Arizona Emergency Information Network)