7 x

New Mexico:

“Historic” and “extreme” weather conditions could fan a wildfire in New Mexico which is already the second biggest ever seen in the US state.

The so-called Hermits Peak Fire has been burning for more than a month and has torn through an area larger than the city of Chicago.

Many families have been left homeless and thousands have been evacuated.

Winds, near-record high temperatures and dry conditions are now expected to stoke the blaze further.

This is the new reality. In some places it’s rising sea levels, flooding, land disappearing the way it is in the bayous south of New Orleans, in other places it’s crops failing because of heat and lack of water or torrential rain, in other other places it’s wildfires devouring whole towns.

The frequency of large wildfires has increased dramatically in recent decades.

Compared with the 1970s, fires larger than 10,000 acres (40 sq km) are now seven times more common in the west of the US, according to Climate Central, an independent organisation of scientists and journalists.

And the trend is not going to turn around.

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