Rivka Goldman couldn’t sleep last night, the putrid smell of smoke seeping into her house in Los Alamos, where a raging wildfire that in the space of a day has consumed more than 44,000 acres led authorities to order the evacuation of the New Mexico town. Goldman and her husband packed up and boarded a plane for Chicago today to visit their daughter.

“It’s a lot of smoke, you can smell it anywhere,” said Goldman.

Less than an hour away in Santa Fe, community groups and emergency officials have rolled out cots and readied rooms for the expected evacuees. Looking out his window, Rabbi Berel Levertov, director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center, could see a cloud of smoke in place of a normally picturesque mountain view.

“It’s terrible,” said Levertov, who has opened up his house in Sante Fe to guests fleeing the wildfire and is telling evacuees that hot meals can be found at his Chabad House. “But our loving Jewish community has opened their homes to anyone in need of lodging.”

Back in 2000, Goldman, an active attendee of Chabad programs in her part of the state, lived in Santa Fe for two weeks while flames engulfed the area and caused her home quite a bit of damage.

“When we come back, I don’t know if we’ll have a home or not,” said Goldman. “I hope this time will not be as bad as last time.”

On Monday afternoon, as authorities ordered a full-fledged evacuation for Los Alamos – site of the nation’s nuclear weapons research facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory – officials warned that the flames were far from under control.

“The fire is going to be with us for a while,” Los Alamos Fire Chief Doug Tucker told the Reuters news agency. “It has the potential to double and triple in size.”

In Albuquerque, Chabad-Lubavitch of New Mexico director Rabbi Chaim Schmukler said that smoke from the Los Alamos fire and several in neighboring Arizona has wafted into town. Like his associate in Santa Fe, he was contacting everyone on his e-mail list to connect evacuees with host families. He’s also planning to hold a special Sabbath dinner this Friday night for all evacuees.

In Santa Fe, Levertov sent his blessings to those in the fire’s path.

“May G‑d protect you and your belongings,” he said. “And may you know no harm.”