As I was heading into the office on the morning of June 20th, something felt... off. I felt as if I'd traversed into the shadow realm. A heavy haze was all around me, blotting out the rising sun and turning the sky a burning shade of orange.

Wildfire smoke covering mountains
Credit: Canva

If you were in southern Arizona on that day, you know what I'm talking about, but what caused it?

The New Mexico Fire

Early on the the 18th, a wildfire broke out in southern New Mexico. Almost instantly, the fire began spreading at a massive pace and soon had overtaken thousands of acres. In its wake, it's burned over 16,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,400 structures across the state.

Wildfire in a forest
Credit: Canva

It's already considered one of the worst fires in New Mexico history, and the president has issued a disaster declaration for the state. The biggest issue is the fear of flooding. While New Mexico doesn't get as much rain as states like Florida, the burn scars have prevented run-off and have begun to flood bridges and other structures.

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How Does This Affect Arizona?

If it isn't already glaringly obvious, the haze that covered most of southern Arizona was ash and smog from the New Mexico fires. Seeing smoke that thick cover the Arizona sky may remind some of the devastating Monument Fire of 2011, one of the worst tragedies to ever hit Cochise County.

Mountains on Fire
Credit: Canva

This fire is much of the same, uprooting families, destroying homes, and shaking communities to their core. Help has come from all around, including 51 members of Arizona's Task Force 1 fire service.


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