Smoke Visible From Three Area Fires

by Staff Reporter / Sep 19, 2017 / comments

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Smoke Visible From Three Area Fires

SANTA FE ― Three lightning-caused fires on the Santa Fe National Forest put up visible smoke Saturday as crews keep an eye on the Beaver Creek, Deer Creek and Ojitos Fires.

The Ojitos Fire on the Coyote Ranger District started July 7 in a 90,000-acre block that has been cleared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for forest restoration. 

Fire crews have taken advantage of favorable conditions to add low-intensity fire to the ground on both sides of Forest Road 468 and on the west side of the fire perimeter to remove hazardous fuels and mitigate the risk of future high-intensity wildfire. Warmer conditions have led to more active burning on the 2,200-acre Ojitos Fire, and smoke may be visible from the Rio Chama, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu Lake, Canjilon and NM Highways 84 and 96.

A lightning strike yesterday started the Deer Creek Fire, estimated at about eight acres, on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire which started July 18. As crews monitor the Deer Creek Fire, which is about 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels, smoke has been reported from US Highway 550 and may impact the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon.

Fire crews hiked into the Pecos Wilderness yesterday to observe the Beaver Creek Fire which was reported Sept. 10. The Beaver Creek Fire, estimated at approximately eight acres, is in monitor status due to steep terrain and limited access which make it difficult to send fire crews in and, more importantly, to get them out safely in an emergency.

Wilderness areas are managed to preserve their wilderness character, which frequently means allowing a lightning-caused fire to play its natural ecological role by reducing fuel loads, renewing vegetation and soil nutrients, and enhancing wildlife habitat. While the Beaver Creek Fire is active, smoke may be visible from I-25 and the villages of Rociada, Pendaries, Sapello, Cañoncito, Manuelitas, Tierra Monte and San Ignacio. 

Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures. Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website: https://nmtracking.org/fire.