TAOS, New Mexico: Two wildfires that have consumed some 312,320 acres in New Mexico were accidentally started by the U.S. Forest Service, according to the federal agency.
Meanwhile, New Mexico’s governor has demanded that the federal government assume responsibility for the still-burning fires.
Forest Service investigators said piles of burned branches, part of a controlled burn, reignited on April 19 in the Santa Fe National Forest, causing the largest wildfires in New Mexico history.
That blaze later joined with the Hermits Peak Fire, which the Forest Service started with a controlled burn that also went out of control on April 6.
The wildfire has so far burned over 312,320 acres of mountain forests and valleys, the size of greater London. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed.
“The pain and suffering of New Mexicans caused by the actions of the U.S. Forest Service an agency that is intended to be a steward of our lands is unfathomable,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
Grisham noted that tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fire and New Mexico has spent millions of dollars fighting the massive wildfires.
The wildfire has burned a swathe through a 40-mile-long path up the Sangre de Cristo mountains, destroying watersheds and forests used by local farming communities.