Kirtland AFB firefighters deploy to fight largest US wildland fire

A team of firefighters from Kirtland Air Force Base has deployed to combat the largest wildland fire in the United States.

The combined Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon fire is burning in the Santa Fe National Forest, between Santa Fe, N.M. and Las Vegas, N.M., about one hour drive northeast of the Kirtland AFB. The Hermit’s Peak fire started burning April 6, and the Calf Canyon fire started April 19. The two fires merged April 22. As of 9 a.m. May 12, the combined fire has burned nearly 260,000 acres, more than 370 square miles, and is 29% contained.

On May 11, four Kirtland firefighters traveled to an airstrip in Angel Fire, N.M., where firefighting helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were staged to drop flame retardants. To protect the aircraft, airfield and surrounding 50,000 acres of wildland, they took an aircraft rescue firefighting vehicle, an ultra-high-pressure vehicle and a utility vehicle, as well as tents.

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