LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Fire crews are working against the clock Thursday to make as much progress on the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fires before the wind picks up again. The fire is now the second-largest fire in New Mexico in more than 30 years.

The fire is now more than 165,000 acres in size, with 20% containment. More than 15,000 homes remain evacuated. People News 13 spoke with Thursday shared their frustrations at the fact that the Hermits Peak Fire, started as a prescribed burn.

“Mad because they knew 85 miles were coming in and they threw the match and by the time [it was] 4:00 in the afternoon, it was 100 acres, then 1,000 acres, and then out of control,” says Carlos Apodaca of Las Vegas.

With less wind and lower temperatures Thursday, fire crews are focusing on containment lines to box the fires in and prevent them from being pushed across Highway 283. Officials say this is extremely important because this weekend, they are expecting strong winds and higher temperatures.

On Wednesday, crews were able to make some progress because winds that were coming through were blocked by the natural landscape of the area. “I have a lot of people in Las Vegas that I pray every day that this fire gets contained, people are able to go back, and I hope the government financially takes care of them,” says Vincent Apodaca of Las Vegas.

A fire crew from Apple Valley, California has been working on some of these fire operations. They’ve been monitoring containment lines which create a barrier, keeping the fire from spreading to the city of Las Vegas.

Thursday’s nicer weather also gave helicopters an opportunity to help crews working on the ground. Another main focus is protecting communities in the fire area. Multiple structure protection groups have been putting measures in place around homes that are still threatened.