Start date: June 26, 2020
Cause: Under investigation
Size: Approximately 2 acres
Location: Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District on the Santa Fe National Forest approximately 1.7 miles from the Winsor Ridge Trailhead at Cowles and approximately 20 miles north of Pecos
Fuels: Heavy fuels with a high concentration of dead and down timber and mixed conifer on steep slopes in rocky terrain.
Weather: The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning in effect from noon today until 8 p.m. this evening. With wind speeds gusting up to 35 miles per hour from the southwest and low humidity ranging from 9% to 15%, conditions are ideal for wildfire to spread rapidly. Southwest winds will increase this afternoon, and a weather system moving into the Great Basin will strengthen very dry westerly winds.
Resources on scene: Two helicopters with water buckets, one fixed-wing aircraft, two engine modules and approximately 40 personnel on the ground.
Values at risk: Cowles Ponds fishing site, Cowles Campground and Winsor Ridge recreation cabins administered under special use permits from the Santa Fe National Forest.
Strategy: The strategy for the Winsor Ridge Fire is full suppression. The fire is very active within its 2-acre footprint. The biggest concern for firefighters today is spotting outside the main fire, especially under the red flag conditions. High winds could cause the fire to spread rapidly in difficult terrain. The two helicopters are dipping water from the Cowles Ponds to drop on the fire and may consider using Stewart Lake in the Pecos Wilderness if necessary.
Safety: Members of the public should stay away from the Cowles Ponds area, the Winsor Ridge Trailhead and Stewart Lake so they do not interfere with fire operations. Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause air operations to cease. The public is reminded that “If you fly, we can’t!”
Smoke is likely to be visible in the Pecos Canyon area. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.