The Washington Post

Wind-driven fires force evacuation­s


Thousands of residents of northern New Mexico villages evacuated Sunday as fierce winds drove the largest active U.S. wildfire toward their drought-parched valley.

Winds gusting over 40 mph blew embers a mile ahead of the blaze to start new fires as bulldozers carved fire breaks to protect the villages of Ledoux, Mora and Cleveland around 40 miles northeast of Santa Fe.

They are among farming communitie­s and an Old West city in the path of the Calf Canyon fire, the most destructiv­e of a dozen Southwest blazes that scientists say are more widespread and arriving earlier due to climate change.

Firefighte­rs were hampered by strong, erratic winds set to keep shifting direction until Thursday.

Burning since April 6, the fire has destroyed hundreds of properties and forced the evacuation of dozens of settlement­s in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Informatio­n sought on escaped Ala. inmate: The U.S. Marshals Service said Sunday that it is offering up to $10,000 for informatio­n about an escaped inmate and a “missing and endangered” correction­al officer who disappeare­d Friday after the two left a jail in northern Alabama. Casey Cole White, 38, had been jailed on a murder charge in Florence, about 75 miles west of Huntsville. The inmate and assistant director of correction­s Vicky White, 56, left the detention center to go to a nearby courthouse, the sheriff ’s office said in a Facebook post. Investigat­ors said the two are not related. “Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the correction­s officer and the public,” the U.S. marshal for northern Alabama, Marty Keely, said in a statement.

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