Firewatch: Over 54,000 acres already burned in New Mexico Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires

Firewatch: Over 54,000 acres already burned in New Mexico Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires
Photo by Tom Bird — @NWSAlbuquerque

New Mexico Fire Information posted an update regarding two wildfires that combined on April 19 and reached new areas over the last days. Separately known as Calf Canyon fire and Hermits Peak fire are located south of Albuquerque, near Gallinas Canyon.

At the end of the week, fire crews focused efforts on protecting homes to the northwest between Highway 518 and the fire’s edge, as well as preventing the fire from moving south into the critical watershed area. The fire continued wind-driven growth across the grasslands at high rates of speed.

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office and Mora County Sheriff’s Office have issued mandatory “GO” evacuations in several areas, and many communities remain in "SET" and "READY" status. The evacuation status and road closures have changed rapidly in the last two days and continue to be assessed using the Ready, Set, Go! system.

More information:

Combined fires already covered 54,004 acres, but containment still quite low at just 12%. The cause is under investigation.

Stats from Santa Fe National Forest:

  • Calf Canyon Acreage: 48,251

  • Containment: 0%

  • Personnel: 199

  • Hermits Peak Acreage: 7,573

  • Containment: 91%

  • Personnel: 279

  • Cuse: Prescribed Burn

The Santa Fe National Forest has issued a closure order and has implemented Stage II fire restrictions to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Calf Canyon Fire. The temporary flight restriction (TFR) in place over the area was expanded to include the Gallinas Canyon area. The TFR also covers unmanned aircraft, or drones.

An expected reduction in temperature and wind speed as well as intermittent cloud cover may provide opportunities for safer firefighter engagement. Smoke and shifting wind directions could impact visibility and access to certain areas within the fire area.

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