Wildfires in Arizona, Nebraska and New Mexico have left at least one person dead and destroyed hundreds of structures.
McKenna Thompson, 30, was not too worried when she learned last week that she was among thousands of people across Arizona, Nebraska and New Mexico who would be forced to leave as wildfires approached.
She had been driving back home to Flagstaff, Ariz., when she heard about the evacuation order. As smoke swirled around her car and the skies darkened, she soon felt as if she were “looking at hell,” she said on Sunday. She picked up her 2-year-old son and her mother and drove to a cafe to wait out the fire.
A few hours later, she learned that her home had burned down.
Ms. Thompson was caught up in the Tunnel Fire, which officials estimate has damaged or destroyed 30 homes. Displaced families have been left with rubble, ashes and a harrowing reminder of what they’ve lost.
“Everything is gone,” Ms. Thompson said.
The Tunnel Fire was one of many wildfires this past week that have collectively scorched more than 150,000 acres and forced the evacuations of at least 4,000 homes, officials said. The fires, which have been blamed for at least one death, are part of an early and active season across the country, as wildfires have also plagued California, Colorado and Texas.