The southwestern side of the Medio Fire Iin the Espanola Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest is putting up a fair amount of smoke as hot, dry conditions contributed to more active fire behavior. Aerial observation has confirmed that the interior pockets of fuel burning now are surrounded by black and have limited potential to spread. Containment lines around the fire’s perimeter continue to hold.
The fire, which started Aug. 17, was caused by lightning and is 90 percent contained. Some 100 personnel are assigned to the area with two engines, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft.
Weather: Hot, dry and unstable conditions helped ignite unburned fuels on the fire’s interior. The same conditions tomorrow are likely to cause a repeat of visible smoke. The good news is that record high temperatures are forecast to end when a surface cold front sweeps into New Mexico on Tuesday when temperatures will drop rapidly and bring light to moderate rain and even snow at higher elevations.
Values at risk: Nearby communities, Nambe Reservoir infrastructure, tribal and private inholdings, cultural resources, watersheds and riparian areas, power and phone lines, and grazing allotments.
Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public are always the first priority. Firefighters are conducting operations under protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
Smoke: Smoke from the Medio Fire is visible as interior pockets of fuel continue to burn. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into the Santa Fe area to see the latest smoke information. 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.
Closures and Restrictions: The closure order remains in effect prohibiting members of the public from entering the area around the Medio Fire, including all Forest Service lands, roads and trails, roughly defined by the Rio Nambe Trail #160 on the north, the Borrego Trail #150 and Forest Road 412 on the east, Forest Road 102 on the south and back up the forest boundary line on the west to meet the Rio Nambe Trail #160. Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect on the Santa Fe National Forest to reduce the risk for human-caused wildfire due to dry weather conditions. The Santa Fe County burn ban remains in effect. The Temporary Flight Restriction over the fire area will remain in place.
Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website and Inciweb as well as the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.