Editor’s note: This information is from the New Mexico Fire Information website, which is an interagency effort by federal and state agencies in New Mexico to provide timely, accurate, fire and restriction information for the entire state.
Start date: April 22, 2022 Cause: Unknown Size: 4,688 acres Containment: 0%
Location: Forest Road 10 and NM Highway 4 approximately 7 miles east of Jemez Springs
Evacuations: Sandoval County issued evacuation orders for Sierra de Los Pinos and other communities near the Cerro Pelado Fire. The Jemez Mountain Baptist Church on NM Highway 126 is serving as an evacuation center. Expo New Mexico at the NM State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque is available for livestock. The Sandoval County Fire Department and Emergency Management will provide updated information on evacuations, as needed.
Closures: NM State Police have closed NM Highway 4 from the junction with NM 126 east to Los Alamos. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) will be implemented across the fire area which includes unmanned aircraft, or drones. Additional closures are under discussion.
Resources: Approximately 30 personnel are on scene with local district resources, La Cueva volunteers, 7 engines and 2 water tenders. The Southern Area Red Type 1 Incident Management Team under Incident Commander Steve Parrish will assume command of the Cerro Pelado Fire tomorrow, Sunday, April 24, at 7 a.m.
Weather: There is a Red Flag Warning today with mostly west winds, then turning north-northwest through the day with speeds of 20-25 mph and gusts above 40 mph. Southwest-west winds will sharply increase to 20-30 mph with gusts out of the west upwards of 40 mph by midday into the afternoon. Expect widespread wind gusts throughout the day.
Fuels and Fire Behavior: Conditions on the forest are extremely dry with high fire danger and abundant available fuels. The Cerro Pelado Fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain with heavy fuel loadings of dead and down timber. Ponderosa pine in the lower elevations transitions to mixed conifer in the upper elevations. The fire is close to burn scars from the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire and the 2017 Cajete Fire as well as forest units that have been treated with thinning and prescribed fire.
Strategy: Firefighters today are focused on protecting the homes in Sierra de los Pinos and keeping the Cerro Pelado Fire from crossing to the west of Forest Road (FR) 10. Crews are also monitoring the southern edge of the fire and addressing a couple of spot fires out ahead of the eastern fire perimeter.
Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public are always the first priority.
Smoke: Smoke from the Cerro Pelado Fire is likely to be visible from NM Highway 4, US Route 550, Canon, Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, Sierra Los Pinos, La Cueva and San Diego Canyon. 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. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.