Active fire behavior at Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires due to high winds — 176,273 acres burned

Active fire behavior at Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires due to high winds — 176,273 acres burned
Photo by Amanda Campos

Santa Fe National Forest posted an update for May 8, 2022 on two major New Mexico Fires — Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon. Overnight due to high winds resulted in active fire behavior and total affected area stands at 176,273 acres, or an increase of about 6,000 acres. More than 1,500 personnel involved in operations. Containment at 21%.

Despite containing measures installed in some areas, winds testing control features in others. The scooper planes and helicopters helped ground crews, but today air resources will be grounded because of the winds.

The San Miguel and Mora County Sheriffs ask residents to remain on high alert for changes to evacuation statuses and road closures.

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Planned actions:

North
Hold line South and West of Mora along the northern perimeter of the fire to reduce the potential of fire impacting Mora, Ledoux, Cleveland, South Carmen, and Bueno Vista. Engage in structure defense, and additional evacuations as dictated by fire environment.

East
Patrol the 518 road, engage in structure protection for Canoncita, San Ignacio, Sapello, Las Tusasand Manuelitas. Prevent further structure loss within the fire perimeter. Prepare structures between the 518 Road and the fires edge to the west for the potential of northward fire progression beginning Sunday.

South
Hold fire North of Highway 283, holding the Dozer line running from Storrie Lake to Bradner Reservoir and down to Highway 283.

Structure Group(s)- Combined structure groups will continue to prep and prepare for structure defense in Ledoux, and prepare to engage in structure defense in Mora, Cleveland, South Carmen, Bueno Vista, Sapello, Las Tusas, Manuelitas, Emplazado, Gallinas, El Porvenir, Canovas Canyon, Big Pine, Rociada, Upper Rociada, Hot Springs, Holman and Mineral Hills. Efforts will be prioritized based on probability of success and proximity of VARs to threat.

Other
Continue to coordinate with the local utility companies to allow for operation of critical

Forecast:

Fire activity is expected to remain active throughout the overnight period as red flag conditions are predicted to extend more than 50 straight hours. Winds are expected to remain sustained around 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph overnight and humidity recovery is not expected to exceed 15% at the higher elevations. Fire activity is expected to remain extremely active overnight equaling activity during "normal" peak burn period activity. Sustained surface fire runs, moderate-to-long range spotting, and group torching is expected to be consistent on the northern and southern perimeters.

Red flag conditions with strong sustained winds and very strong gusts (over 50 mph) will combine with the dry fuels, and single-digit humidity to allow for extreme fire behavior throughout the day and night. Wind driven runs with group torching and long-range spotting are expected on the northern extent with fire growing from Vallecito towards Holman along Hwy 518. Long-range spotting (potentially exceeding 1 mile) increase the likelihood of spot fires occurring northeast of the highway in the vicinity of Cañada de la Cueva, east of Holman.

If spot fires establish and grow, topographic alignment with the dominant winds could allow for extreme fire growth to the east/northeast. Further south, west/southwesterly winds are expected to push fire in Falls Creek downslope to the east, towards I-25.

Evacuations:

Interactive Evacuation Status Map  

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