Danger zone: Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires grew to 236,939 acres overnight

Danger zone: Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires grew to 236,939 acres overnight
Photo by @republikaaleks

Just yesterday Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires surpassed 200,000 acres of affected area, but due to strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity caused extreme fire behavior and rapid growth. Overnight wildfire added more than 33,000 acres or 51 square miles. Latest data shows 236,939 acres burned.

Containment dropped to 33%. Over 1,860 personnel involved in firefighting operations. If wildfire continue to spread with such high speed, by the next week it could become the larges in New Mexico history.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were able to fly yesterday on the north and south to support firefighters on the ground. They will continue today as the wind allows. Resources are being moved strategically around the fire from areas with lessening activity to those that are very active.

@CartoBassett

The previous spot fire that established over Highway 518 Sunday made a big run, pushing up to between Chacon and Guadulapita. It’s predicted to be 1-2 miles from the Colfax County line by the end of the day. Structure protection continues in the highway corridors, and canyon communities and crews will work north as the fire progresses into newly impacted areas, including Taos and Colfax Counties. The east side from Ledoux to Las Vegas is in patrol status.

Crews are beginning to remove sprinkler systems no longer needed and move them to other areas of the fire. From the east side, pockets of interior fuels may be seen burning out but pose no threat to the containment lines. The fire has been highly active on the south, but the visible smoke columns have been within the containment lines.

On the southwest towards Pecos, firefighters are proactively working on getting in fireline, and structure protection measures have been implemented in Bull Canyon. Around Gascon and Rociada, crews are still putting in dozer and handline and keeping the fire away from structures. The fire continues to move into the Pecos Wilderness towards Lone Pine Mesa, Blue Bell Ridge, and further up near Enchantment Lake.

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, Bueno Vista, Holman, Guadalupita and Guadalupita South. If we are unable to hold perimeter line in this area, 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 Tusas and 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 of VARs to threat.

Other
Continue to coordinate with the local utility companies to allow for operation of critical infrastructure. Continue to coordinate with law enforcement agencies to account for public safety.

Wednesday's Forecast:

A Red Flag Warning is in effect 11:00 through 21:00. Maximum sustained winds will be south to southwest at 28 to 33 mph with gusts to around 50 mph. Maximum temperatures will top out around 70 degrees in the upper elevations to the lower 80s in the lower elevations. Minimum relative humidity values will be 10 to 17 percent. There will be a slight chance of virga, or a dry thunderstorm. The Haines Index will be a 6. LAL 2. CWR 0 percent.

Evacuations:

Interactive map.

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