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New Mexico News

Massive New Mexico blaze blamed on miscalculations, errors

Biden
Evan Vucci/AP
/
AP
President Joe Biden speaks during a briefing on the New Mexico wildfires at the New Mexico State Emergency Operations Center, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service employees made multiple miscalculations, used inaccurate models and underestimated how dry conditions were, causing a planned burn to reduce the threat of wildfires to turn into the largest blaze in New Mexico's recorded history. The agency on Tuesday released the findings of an investigation into a fire that ultimately displaced thousands of people and destroyed hundreds of homes. It also forced a pause on the agency's prescribed fire operations nationwide. Anger and frustration have been simmering among residents and elected officials. The blaze has charred more than 533 square miles, and forecasters are warning of post-fire flooding threats amid summer rains.