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Cajete Fire Morning Update: 1,367 Acres Burned, 65 Percent Contained ... N.M. 4 Reopens At Noon Today

on June 18, 2017 - 11:55am

Image from a Goes-16 satellite shows smoke Saturday from large fires active in New Mexico and Arizona. The El Cajete Fire in the Jemez has burned 1,367 acres since igniting Thursday and is now 65 percent contained. Courtesy/Wildfire Today NASA

SFNF News:

The El Cajete Fire has now burned 1,367 acres since it erupted Thursday morning in the Jemez. Today fire crews are patrolling and monitoring the established containment line along the northern perimeter of the fire, while additional crews construct and improve the line on the southern perimeter.

A team of firefighters will repel today from helicopters onto Los Griegos Peak to begin scouting opportunities for direct fireline construction in rough terrain in an effort to contain the fire. Containment is expected to increase by the end of the current operational period.

About the El Cajete Fire:

Location:

  • The fire is burning in the Jemez Ranger District on the Santa Fe National Forest, on both sides of N.M. 4 along the southern boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Cajete Fire started approximately one mile northeast of Vallecitos de los Indios (Sierra de los Pinos). The fire area runs along the East Fork of the Jemez River and is west of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire burn scar and southeast of the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire burn scar.

Start Date:

  • June 15, 2017

Cause:

  • Abandoned campfire

Size:

  • 1,367 acres

Containment:

  • 65 percent

Vegetation:

  • Mostly ponderosa pine with some mixed conifer and aspen on the north slopes.

Resources Assigned:

  • 323 personnel – 4 Type 1 Crews and 5 Type 2 crews;
  • 9 engines;
  • 1 dozer;
  • 3 water tenders;
  • 2 Type 1 helicopters;
  • 1 Type 2 helicopter; and
  • 2 Type 3 helicopters.

Incident Command:

  • California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, led by Mark von Tillow, Incident Commander, is managing the fire.

Community Meeting Tonight: 

  • A fire update will be provided at 6 p.m. today at the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church in La Cueva.

Closures and Evacuations:

  • N.M. 4 will be reopened at noon today. To ensure safety and security, law enforcement will provide escorts in both directions for motorists crossing through the burn area. Motorists should expect delays. Repopulation of residents who were evacuated during the fire will begin soon. As residents return home they should consider that as the Cajete Fire burned, refrigeration was temporarily lost, and frozen foods warmed. Care must be taken in handling food that may have been damaged.

Access to Area Attractions:

  • All businesses and recreation sites in and around Jemez Springs are open and accessible, with the exception of the Jemez Falls and Redondo Campgrounds, and the Los Conchas Trail, which remain closed.

Values to be Protected:

  • Businesses, recreation sites, multiple structures, and small communities including Vallecitos de los Indios to the south, La Cueva to the northwest and many ranches, homes and private land parcels. Several high use recreation areas in proximity to the Cajete Fire include Jemez Falls, Battleship Rock, Jemez Canyon Overlook, several campgrounds and trails. Sacred sites and other cultural resources. The Wild and Scenic Jemez River, and threatened and endangered species, including the Jemez Mountain salamander.

Smoke:

  • Smoke from the Cajete fire will continue to impact air quality in the Rio Grande Valley. Smoke tends to be heaviest in the morning after settling with cool air at night.

Drones:

  • 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!”

Fire Information:


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