| Cerro Pelado and Freelove Fires Update April 30NM Fire Info


Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Telephone: 505-312-4593 E-mail: [email protected]
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COMMUNITY MEETINGS: A public meeting on the Cerro Pelado fire will be held tonight, Saturday, April 30, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Jemez Mountain Baptist Church, 6 Riverview Court, Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Members of the South Zone Red Team and agency representatives will discuss and answer questions about current progress and planned activities on the fire.

Another public meeting will be held tomorrow, Sunday, May 1, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cochiti Lake Fire Department, 6515 Hoochaneetsa Blvd., Cochiti Lake, NM.

Cerro Pelado fire: The Cerro Pelado Fire, 11 km east of Jemez Springs, New Mexico, began Friday, April 22 during an epic wind event. The cause of the fire is under investigation. It burns in ponderosa pine and mixed evergreens and brush. The eastern portion of the fire burns within the fire footprint of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire. The current fire footprint includes forest units that have previously been treated to reduce fire risk. Three houses were destroyed in the fire.

Area: 15,650 acres Containment: 15%

Staff and equipment: 352 employees in total; 22 engines, 1 type 1 crew, 5 type 2 crew, 1 type 2 initial attack crew, 3 helicopters, 4 bulldozers, 1 ambulance, 1 rapid medical extraction unit and 5 water tenders.

Yesterday: The fire was active yesterday in red flag weather conditions with winds blowing up to 40 mph. The fire spread east into Frazier Canyon and Bland Canyon, and south to Oasis Mesa. Bulldozers placed a line of fire and sprinklers around structures in the Cochiti Mesa community to provide protection for the structure. Firefighters continued to clean up the northwest side of the fire, to the southwest corner, then east to Paliza Canyon. Mulching was completed on the west side of the fire to reduce burnable vegetation. Northerly winds pushed the lines of fire near the Sierra de Los Pinos community and the lines held. An air quality alert was issued and included areas affected by the Cerro Pelado fire, including Lake Cochiti and Cochiti Pueblo.

Today: Patrol and cleanup will continue from the northwest side of the fire to the southwest corner and then east. Firefighters will increase the depth of cleanup to increase containment. The bulldozer lines that were previously installed on the road networks from Paliza Canyon to Peralta Ridge will be maintained. Bulldozers will continue to work along road networks around the perimeter of the fires to widen roads and create an additional line of fire to slow fire growth and create secondary containment. Firefighters will protect and prepare structures at Cochiti Mesa with water sprinklers and pipe lays. Super scoopers can draw water from Lake Cochiti to help fight the fire. The South Zone Red Team will meet with Santa Fe National Forest staff to develop a long-range plan for the fire.

Freelove Fire: The Freelove Fire is on the west side of the Valles Caldera National Preserve in Freelove Canyon, within the former footprint of the Thompson Ridge Fire of 2013. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Yesterday: Firefighters continued to clean around the perimeter of the fire and no smoke was observed.

Today: Firefighters will continue to clean up and monitor the fire.

Weather and fire behavior: Today will remain dry with light winds and temperatures in the mid-60s. Winds aligned with the San Juan drainage will increase fire activity moving east with some northward movement where vegetation burnable is present. The fire will continue to move east and south toward Oaks Mesa with increased fire activity where winds and topography align. Large stumps and logs will continue to burn in areas outside the logging road network (FR 270). Pockets of unburned vegetation may actively burn with the possibility of individual or group flaring. Spotting up to half a mile is possible.

Evacuations, shelter areas: The Sandoval County Fire Department and Emergency Management will provide updated evacuation information as needed. The communities of Cochiti Mesa and Peralta Canyon remain under “Go” evacuation status. Evacuations for the Sierra de Los Pinos remain in “set” mode, which means being ready to leave at all times. If conditions change and fire threatens the community again, these areas could revert to “Go”.

Air quality: Air quality information can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking, https://nmtracking.org./fire. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ lets you zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

An air quality alert was issued by the National Weather Service which included areas affected by the Cerro Pelado fire. Smoke from several large wildfires burning in northern New Mexico was carried southeast through Friday evening, with an increased risk of surface smoke drifting south along the Rio Valley Great overnight until Saturday morning. The alert is in effect until noon today. Additional information can be found here: WWA Summary for Air Quality Alert Issued by ABQ (weather.gov).

Closures: NM Highway 4 is open to local traffic ONLY from mile marker 47, 14 miles east of Sierra de Los Pinos to mile marker 50, 14 miles west of White Rock. Northbound Highway 4 is closed at Mile 26 (north of Jemez) due to the Cerro Pelado fire. THE ROAD IS ONLY OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC for evacuations. Motorists should drive slowly on the highway with headlights on. Fire equipment and firefighters will travel along Highway 4 and access the fire, especially at intersections with FR 10 and FR 280. If heavy traffic impedes firefighting efforts and endangers safety firefighters, Highway 4 could be closed again.

The Santa Fe National Forest has issued a closure order limiting public access to the area around the fire. Specifically, all Forest Service lands within an area roughly defined by NM Highway 4 to the west, Valles Caldera National Preserve to the north, Bandelier National Monument to the east, and Zia Pueblo and Santo Domingo Pueblo to the south are closed to the public. Order number 10-506. https://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe/

Valles Caldera National Reserve remains closed until further notice.

Fire Restrictions: Level II fire restrictions are in effect for the Santa Fe National Forest, which prohibits the construction, maintenance, attendance or use of any fire, campfire or stove, including charcoal and briquettes. Smoking is also prohibited except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a landscaped recreation site, or stationary in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable materials. For other activities prohibited under Level II fire restrictions, see https://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe/. Additionally, due to ongoing fire threats, Sandoval County will not be issuing burn permits.

Temporary flight restriction: There is a flight restriction on the area above the fire (10 nautical miles southwest of Los Alamos, NOTAM 2/2366). https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_2_6851.html. Drones over fire are also prohibited.


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