the state’s 700 or so acequias, or irrigation ditches, said she attributed her community’s persistence to “pure grit.”

term she defined as “a cultural longing, a pull, that keeps us there.”

19th-century Hispanic vigilante nightriders who had targeted Anglo land squatters after the United States took control of New Mexico.

Relations between ethnic groups have evolved since then. But unlike other parts of the United States where Hispanics are viewed as newcomers and Anglos seek to defend their culture from demographic shifts, in northern New Mexico the roles are often reversed.

“We bought our land back in 1993, but we’re still considered outsiders compared to many of our neighbors,” said Sonya Berg, 79, a retired teacher from Texas whose home in Rociada, a town of several hundred people, was destroyed by the fire.

Still, Ms. Berg said she understood why some families remained in the area for generations, explaining that their land had been so important to her husband, who died in 2019, that his gravesite is on their fire-scorched property.

“I’m sure we’ll rebuild,” she said.

Given the fire’s erratic behavior, it is not clear when evacuees will be allowed back. Wendy Mason, a New Mexico wildfire prevention official, said it was the first time, at least in recent memory, that so many large fires were raging at once in the state. Ms. Mason also cautioned that more fires could start in the coming weeks.

“We usually don’t expect much moisture until the monsoons arrive, and that’s generally not until July or August,” Ms. Mason said. Even if some rain falls, as it did in parts of the state over the weekend, it could be accompanied by lightning strikes that ignite other blazes, she warned.

“Our climate is changing, making the fire season a lot longer and more intense,” Ms. Mason said.

Still, Mr. Martinez, the state historian, emphasized that such challenges were part of the region’s history. Mora was burned to the ground, he noted, by invading American forces in 1847 during the Mexican-American War. After that episode, the community picked up the pieces and started again.

“This isn’t the first fire our families have dealt with,” he said.

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