Sunday, mid-day, a new fire broke out in New Mexico, more or less exactly here (photo from a May, 2008, visit— at one time or another, over the 23 years I lived in Santa Fe, I probably took everyone I knew there):
The Las Conchas Fire (location map; none of the fire websites have mapped it yet) exploded to 43,000 or so acres within hours (unbelievable acreage figure new this morning, based on overnight infrared mapping, and is official). "The fire burned actively all day to the north/northeast." (Time-lapse video.) The smoke was so heavy that it shaded the Pacheco Fire on the other side of the valley in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, reducing the fire activity there. For up-to-date news, faster than official sources, follow the #nmfire hash tag on twitter...
I spent the day glued to my desk chair, reading updates, looking at imagery. At dusk (there) when the flames began to show through the smoke on the Pajarito Ski Webcam, it looked like Armageddon. It was Armageddon. 43,000 acres in less than a day. By bedtime, I no longer knew where I was; falling asleep I kept thinking I was in my bed in the old 'tree-house' apartment on Hillside Avenue in Santa Fe.
Las Conchas IR flight confirms the fire is now 43,597 acres in size.
Update Tuesday morning, June 28. I just need a place to stash these links. Wildfire Today. KOAT. SF Reporter. rkr. nmfireinfo. IR flyover, 6/28 (where did they get this?). The PajaritoSki webcam is gone, I think because the Pajarito Ski area is gone.
Later still: adding this morning's 'Smoke Map'. 8AM PDT, June 28, 2011: