NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  Wildfires across the state aren’t letting up as new ones continue to pop up one after the other. Two wildfires, the Cerro Bandera and the Midnight fires, both broke out Thursday and already have burned 4,439 acres combined.

Carson National Forest Zone Fire Management Officer Jamie Long says the Midnight Fire, located eight miles northeast of El Rito in Rio Arriba County, has been extremely active, burning 3,500 acres. “It is super dry and there is a lot of concern about safety and welfare. It’s the fuel loading out there that is actually driving the fire behavior that we are seeing. There’s just a lot of dead and down some of that old decadent woody debris,” says Long.

Crews from the state’s largest and most destructive fire, the Hermit Peak-Calf Canyon Fire, have been diverted to help tackle the latest blaze. Currently, 202 personnel are working to tackle the flames of the Midnight Fire. Long, however, says it will be an uphill battle to reach containment. “Right now it’s going to be zero percent. We’re trying to grab onto the anchor down south portion of it,” says Long. He says it will be a slow process to reach containment as crews direct their focus south in Potrero to prevent any homes from being destroyed. 

Officials with the Cerro Bandera Fire say the fire, just 17 miles southwest of Grants, has already claimed multiple homes. “We had the structures within the fire area that were threatened. We did lose six structures – that was the extent,” says Xavier Anderson, Public Information Officer for the Cerro Banderra Fire. He says the Cerro Bandera fire has consumed 939 acres… but with 164 personnel fighting the flames, Anderson says they too are struggling with fire containment.

“We are still at zero percent containment and that’s just due to the fact that we had scattered heat throughout the entire fire. We have put inline in many parts of the fire but at this time, there is no actual containment.” The community of Potrero has been placed under “GO” evacuation status. El Rito has been placed under “Ready.” The cause of both wildfires still remains under investigation.