Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fire activity winding down, the Black Fire grew to 191,459 acres
The largest wildfire in New Mexico still going, but latest infrared mapping show decrease in growth. Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires approaching 313,000 acres, with almost 50% containment thanks to massive operations involving over 3000 personnel.
There is possibility Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon could reignite due to low humidity and higher wind speeds, but today ground crews expect minimal fire spread, and prepared to block further growth. Over the period of 24-48 hours fire behavior concerns include potential rapid spread with high intensity fire behavior due to developing conditions.
Southwest winds may produce flanking fire with rapid up-slope spread and long range spotting in the Cow Creek, Bull Creek, and other areas where heat sources are present on west facing slopes. The southwesterly wind pattern will result in continued up-drainage and up-slope fire spread on any unchecked active perimeter. Increased smoke production with likely smoke columns during the day. Potential smoke pooling in the lower drainages overnight into the morning hours due to down-slope winds during the night time hours.
Some good news — KOB 4 reports that seven puppies rescued from the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire have all been adopted. Five of the puppies were adopted by members of the New Mexico National Guard, and the other two were adopted at the shelter by other families. One has been named Joaquin Phoenix, the other Pele.
Besides puppies, one kitten was found and rescued by firefighters this week.
The Black Fire
On the other side of New Mexico another wildfire — the Black Fire — growing at high rate. It is already at 191,459 acres (grew by about 12,000 acres) and there are no signs of slowing down.
Friday's weather is forecast to be the warmest of the week and upcoming weekend, with temps expected to reach the high 80s/low 90s. Crews will continue constructing direct and indirect control lines, prepping new line where needed, and using point protection tactics to protect private property, critical infrastructure and other values at risk.
Slash chipping will continue. Hand and aerial ignitions will be used where needed to strengthen protection of values at risk and burn out fuels between constructed firelines and the main fire. Structure triage assessments and identification of values at risk will continue. Nighttime UAS may be utilized along with hand ignitions.
An upper level trough will approach the fire on Saturday with gusty southwest winds expected. With the combination of gusty southwest winds and single digit relative humidity, critical fire weather conditions are likely Saturday afternoon into the evening hours. Expect critical fire weather conditions once again on Sunday and Monday, as the upper trough continues to prevail over the area.