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For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

New Mexico’s Largest Raging Wildfire Has Forced Tens of Thousands from their Homes

Direct Relief has already provided medical support to the region and stands poised to offer aid as requests come in.



Firefighters respond to the Calf Canyon Fire. (Photo courtesy of the Santa Fe Fire Department)

The largest of more than a dozen wildfires blazing across the southwestern United States has forced tens of thousands from their homes and threatened entire villages.

Propelled by fierce winds, and defying the efforts of more than 1,800 firefighters and other responders, the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire has grown to more than 236,000 acres in New Mexico, according to the governmental National Wildfire Coordinating Group. A spokesperson for the state’s governor said that 277 structures have been destroyed thus far.

In preparation for wildfire events, Direct Relief’s 155,000-square-foot medical distribution facility in Santa Barbara, California holds a significant inventory of medical aid frequently requested during these emergencies. That inventory includes N95 masks, inhalers, eye drops, asthma medications, and chronic disease medications, which are frequently needed by evacuees who have left their homes without them.

Direct Relief’s Response

Last week, Direct Relief delivered an emergency delivery of air purifiers, N95 masks, and personal care products requested by Tewa Women United, a Native women-led organization that has also received a Direct Relief Fund for Health Equity grant. That organization serves a community currently being affected by the network of wildfires.

In addition, the organization made initial contact with New Mexico Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the ground in New Mexico.

Direct Relief has a long history of responding to wildfires, particularly in the western United States and has already responded to several wildfires this fire season, including the Tunnel Fire, which burned nearly 2,000 acres in Arizona.

In an emergency such as a wildfire, groups serving affected communities typically make requests for medical aid in the days or weeks after the acute threat is lessoned, as emergency responders, health care providers, and others evaluate medical needs on the ground.

Wildfires cause an obvious and immediate threat to health, frequently causing burns, injuries, and respiratory and cardiovascular issues. But as people leave their homes and communities behind, they frequently leave behind their medications as well, such as those to manage diabetes and hypertension. If left unmanaged, chronic conditions can become life-threatening, requiring urgent care and further stretching the resources of hospitals working to respond to the emergency.

Direct Relief is ready to provide a wide range of medical support over the coming weeks and will continue to communicate with organizations working on the ground to assess and prepare to meet needs.

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