ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Two of the state's forest fires continue to grow unchecked with smoke from one prompting a health alert nearly 200 miles away in metro Albuquerque.
The health warning comes from the Silver Fire now estimated at 18,800 acres in the Gila National Forest and is zero percent contained.
- See below for detailed fire updates
Flames have now reach the edge of the historic mining town of Kingston where firefighters are making a stand. No structures have been lost, according to the latest reports.
Residents of the community in a canyon on the east slopes of the Black Range have been evacuated to Hillsboro about seven miles to the east.
Also still burning out of control is the Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness north of Santa Fe.
The fire has now grown to 3,500 acres and prompted the Carson National Forest to close its trails leading to the wilderness.
The Pecos Wilderness itself, which also reaches into the Santa Fe National Forest, already is closed to public access due to the Tres Lagunas Fire burning north of the village of Pecos.
The Jaroso Fire is in such rough country broken by narrow canyons that the only aircraft attacking it are helicopters making water drops. Big air tankers are of little use for now, and fire bosses early on decided it wasn't safe to send in ground crews.
Firefighters continue to report progress in both the Tres Lagunas Fire and the Thompson Ridge Fire in the Jemez Mountains west of Los Alamos.
Fire updates from incident command teams posted on NMFireInfo.com :
Silver Fire June 13 morning News Release
Fire Behavior Moderated Overnight
SILVER CITY, NM. – Fire behavior decreased overnight as a result of higher humidity and cooler temperatures from thunderstorms passing to the south of the fire. The Silver Fire has grown to 18,800 acres and is zero percent contained. Storms remain in the area today bringing gusty, erratic winds with the possibility of dry lightning further challenging firefighting efforts. As a result, expect the fire to remain active.
Winds today will be predominantly out of the southeast which will push smoke into the Mimbres Valley including the Royal John Mine area. Smoke may also be visible from Hillsboro and surrounding communities.
Public meetings are scheduled for Mimbres Valley and Silver City. The Mimbres meeting will be at 6 p.m. Friday at the Roundup Lodge on Acklin Hill Road in San Lorenzo. The Silver City meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Grant County Administration Building, located at 1400 U.S. Highway 180 East in Silver City. Additional public information meetings are being held each morning at the Hillsboro Community Center at 10 a.m.
To ensure public safety, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area has been closed east of NM State Highway 152 from the Continental Divide Trail #74 south to Reeds Peak. NM State Highway 152 from San Lorenzo to Hillsboro remains closed. The road closure is for east and westbound traffic from 35 miles east of Bayard at mile marker 16 to 10 miles west of Hillsboro at mile marker 40. Trail #79 and the Royal John Road are also closed public safety.
Although there are other fires burning in New Mexico and Colorado, the Northern Arizona Incident Management Team has adequate firefighting resources on hand to conduct suppression activities according to their plan.
Jaroso Fire Update – June 13, 2013, 8:00 a.m.
- Fire Name: Jaroso Fire
- Time/Date Reported: June 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm
- Location: Espanola Ranger District within the Pecos Wilderness, approximately six miles southeast of Borrego
- Mesa; 10-12,000 ft. elevation
- Legal Description: T19N, R11E, Sec 1
- Cause: Lightning
- Fuels: Fire is burning in mixed conifer, heavy dead and down fuels with pockets of bug-killed trees. The 1,300 acre blow down was caused from a "microburst" (an intense, localized downdraft of air that spreads on the ground, causing rapid changes in wind direction and speed; a localized downburst) that uprooted trees and created a very dense pile up of trees.
- Size: Currently, the fire is being observed by air but the heavy smoke and intense heat has made it difficult to determine the true size of the fire. Fire officials continue to assess and refine the size of the fire and will share information when it becomes available.; the fire has been determined to be approximately 3538 acres per our evening infrared mapping flight.
- % Contained: No containment at this time
- Resources: Air attack resources continue to assess and monitor fire progression and fire behavior today. Ground resources are not being used today due to safety concerns regarding volatile fire behavior and concern for adequate safety zones and escape routes in the remote wilderness area. The Type 1 team, Tony Sciacca Incident Commander, arrived today and was briefed by forest fire officials
- and will begin overseeing the management of the fire tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.
Summary: The fire produced "3" distinctive heads or flaming fronts yesterday and has the potential to burn in multiple directions. It has made runs towards the Rio Medio, Pecos Baldy and Trailriders Wall. Today, the fire spotted and pushed passed Pecos Baldy and is moving towards the east. There are no communities currently being threatened but places like Ojo Sarco, Trampas, Peñasco, and El Valle are approximately 8-10 air miles from the fires location.
This fire is plume-dominated due to the heavy fuel loading on the ground which creates extreme fire behavior and has the potential to generate its own weather. This could cause erratic winds, fire whirls and long range spotting.
The fire is burning within the Pecos Wilderness, which consists of 223,333 acres. The wilderness area has deep, narrow canyons, long and broad mesa tops, heavy forested slopes, and rugged ridges with peaks above the timberline.
For more information on the Pecos Wilderness please visit:
Thompson Ridge Morning news release for June 13, 2013
- Acres: 23,946
- Start date: May 31, 2013
- Cause: Downed powerline
- Location: Valles Caldera National Preserve, NM
- Containment: 60 percent
- Fuels: Mixed conifer and Ponderosa pine
- Terrain: Steep, rugged
- Resources: 16 crews, 42 engines, 33 water tenders, 5 dozers
- Total personnel: 885
- Available air support: 3 air tankers, 6 helicopters
Firefighters took advantage of favorable conditions to conduct burnout operations along the containment line on the southwest flank of the fire along Valles Caldera Road 02 (VC02). Aerial ignitions were initiated around 3:30 in the afternoon. Crews then worked throughout the night to complete the burnout operation and bring the fire down to the containment line at VC02. Around 11:00 pm winds shifted 180 degrees due to the collapse of thunderstorms to the east of the fire. This resulted in some short range spotting and a small spot fire on the southeastern end of the burnout. The 150 acre spot fire was stopped by dozer lines and firefighters.
Fire behavior is expected to be moderate today with southwesterly winds pushing the fire back into the black and potential cloud cover in the afternoon. Patrol, mop up and extinguishing hot spots identified by infrared imagery will continue on the west, north and east sides of the fire. Crews will continue to hold and mop up along the southeastern edge of the fire.
Evacuation: Pre-evacuation of the Bennett Subdivision remains in effect.
Open and active: Communities in and around the Santa Fe National Forest remain open and accessible including Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument. Camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities are available in these areas.
Smoke: For more smoke information and air quality forecasts, please visit the New Mexico Environment Department's website at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb and https://nmtracking.org/fire .
All points of entry to the Valles Caldera National Preserve are closed to public access due to fire activity. The Fenton Lake State Park is also closed to the public.
TRES LAGUNAS FIRE UPDATE – June 13, 2013, 9 a.m.
NO PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT
- Acres: 10,282
- Cause: Human
- Start Date: May 30, 2013
- Containment: 80%
- Location: 10 miles North of Pecos, NM
- Fuels: Timber
- Total personnel: 596
- Terrain: steep, rugged
Today's Actions: Mop up, backhauling of equipment, and fire line rehabilitation will continue today. Mop up includes extinguishing or removing burning material near containment lines, felling snags, and trenching logs to prevent rolling after an area has burned. Firefighters will continue to improve existing fireline and build additional direct fireline on ridges and steep slopes on the east, northeast, and southeast areas of the fire. Resources and equipment are gradually being demobilized.
Beginning tomorrow Friday June 14, 2013 at 6:00 a.m., the current Incident Management Team will be transitioning to a Type 3 management team who will take over the incident and oversee all future operations.
The public is reminded that the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District is closed to public entry due to extreme fire danger including the entire Pecos Wilderness. The District closure pertains to all recreational uses (fishing, camping, hiking, etc.) including
leases of recreational residences or permittees on national forest land. For questions about the District closure, please call the Pecos Ranger District at 505-757-6121.
NM Game and Fish lands in the Pecos Canyon are also closed to all recreational use.
Due to heavy fire traffic, residents returning to their homes should avoid driving on Highway 63 before 8:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. Residents are urged to drive slowly and use extreme caution.
Electricity has been restored to all evacuated areas except for Holy Ghost Canyon. Century Link continues to repair phone lines in the area.
Today's Weather Hot and dry conditions continue today with temperatures remaining well above normal. Winds will be out of the Southwest at 10-12 mph with gusts up to 24 mph, and a slight chance of dry thunderstorm activity is possible.
News release from Carson National Forest:
Carson National Forest Closes Access to Pecos Wilderness
Taos, NM, June 13, 2013 - The 3,500-acre Jaroso Fire on the Pecos Wilderness of the Santa Fe National Forest has prompted the decision to close Camino Real Ranger District's trails which access the Pecos Wilderness on the Carson National Forest. This includes the San Leoandro Trail #30, Trampas Trail #31, Santa Barbara Trail #24, Serpent Lake/Alamitos Trail #19 and Ripley Point Trail #36. This order went into effect at 8:00 a.m. today and prohibits going into or being upon the restricted areas.
The entire Pecos Wilderness has been closed on both the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests. The unprecedented fire behavior of the Jaroso Fire, the dry conditions and heavy fuel loadings has contributed to the extreme fire danger in the area.
Violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
Remember you can still Visit, Hike, Fish and Camp on the Carson National Forest provided you observe all Stage I Fire Restrictions and Closure Orders. As these high fire danger levels persist please practice campfire safety by making sure your fire is DEAD OUT!
Information on the Jaroso Fire can also be found on www.nmfireinfo.com or by calling the Santa Fe National Forest at (505) 438-5321.
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