Monday, May 2, 2022
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Telephone: 505-312-4593 E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2022.Cerropeladofire Twitter: https://twitter.com/SantafeNF
COMMUNITY MEETINGS: A public meeting about the Cerro Pelado Fire will be held today from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave, Los Alamos, NM. Members of the South Zone Red Team and agency representatives will discuss and answer questions about current progress and planned activities on the fire. The meeting will be available via zoom at the following link: https://www.losalamosnm.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=6435810&pageId=18517194. No password is required to join.
There will be a virtual meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You can join the meeting on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1mTocL75l
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: 22,314 acres Containment: 10% The decrease in containment is due to the growth of the fire.
Staff and equipment: 466 employees in total; 25 engines, 1 type 1 manual crew, 8 type 2 manual crew, 2 type 2 initial attack crew, 3 helicopters, 8 bulldozers, 2 ambulances, 1 rapid medical extraction unit and 9 water tenders.
Yesterday: Due to increased fire activity, firefighters worked along Highway 4 on the northwest side of the blaze looking northeast near Cox Ranch. Highway 4 was closed from milepost 27 to milepost 59 due to fire and firefighter activity and equipment to keep fires south of Highway 4. The fire broke through the primary containment line along Forest Road (FR) 268 near Rabbit Mountain, south of Hwy 4. Firefighters improved the fire line along FR 289 for containment on the east side of the fire . Firefighters completed the firing operation with aerial ignition on the southwest side of the fire near Peralta Ridge to keep fire intensity low near the old growth timber. Two scooper planes arrived to help the firefighters. Firefighters continued to clean up and patrol the northwest side of the fire, at the southwest corner and east of Paliza Canyon. Containment increased in the southwest corner of the fire along FR 270. Coordination between the response team and Jemez Pueblo and Cochiti Pueblo was crucial in identifying firefighting strategies if the fire is moving south. A well-attended public meeting was held at the Cochiti Lake Fire Hall. More than 300 people took part.
The Freelove Fire has been returned to the local jurisdiction of the Valles Caldera National Reserve.
Today: Firefighters will be working along the perimeter of the fire today along Highway 4 to the north, FR 266 to the west, FR 270 to the south and FR 289 to the east to improve fire lines. At the northeast corner of the fire, firefighters will connect fire lines on Forest Road (FR) 289 and Forest Road (FR) 270. Super scooper planes can draw water from Lake Cochiti to help fight the fire. On the north side of the fire, firefighters will improve fire lines along Highway 4 near Cox Ranch. Protection of structures will also continue in this area. Flight operations will resume at 9 a.m.
Weather and fire behavior: Temperatures will be in the 60s today. Winds from the west will be 20 to 25 mph. Fire is expected to move east and north with increased activity where wind and combustibles align. On the north side of the fire, south of Highway 4, the fire will back up toward the highway. On the southeast side of the fire, heavy pockets of unburned fuel may be actively burning, especially in tight areas of conifers. Fire activity will decrease as the fire reaches the rock lavas above Cochiti Pueblo, but will continue to move through the mixed conifers at the bottom of the canyon. Westerly winds may continue to move the fire east toward Los Alamos National Laboratory. If the fire crosses Highway 4, fire activity will increase in the Valles Caldera due to heavy grass. Large stumps and logs will continue to burn.
Evacuations, Shelter Areas: The communities of Cochiti Mesa and the Peralta Canyon area, including Cox Ranch, remain under “Go” evacuation status. The Sandoval County Fire Department and Emergency Management will provide updated evacuation information as needed. 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.
Closures: Highway 4 is closed from mile post 47, 14 miles east of Sierra De los Pinos, to mile post 50, 14 miles west of White Rock, to all traffic due to the fire activity. Highway 4 is also closed to non-local traffic at Mile 35 (2 miles east of Sierra De los Pinos). Motorists should drive slowly along the highway with headlights on. Fire equipment and firefighters will drive along Highway 4 and access fires, especially at intersections with FR 10 and FR 280. If heavy traffic impedes firefighting efforts and endangers the firefighter safety. The most up-to-date information on road closures can be found here: https://www.nmroads.com/mapIndex.html
The Santa Fe National Forest has issued an order to close the Cerro Pelado Fire Camp. The camp is along the FR 376. Closing decree n° 10-507. The purpose of this order is to protect public health and safety due to extreme fire danger in the restricted area. This order will take effect on May 1, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. and will remain in effect until December 31, 2022 or until revoked.
Bandelier National Monument was closed due to a fire. Valles Caldera National Reserve remains closed until further notice.
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/detail/santafe/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprd3802009
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_6919.html. Drones over fire are also prohibited.