Jemez Springs, NM — The Big Hat Fire management team is adapting to the warmer, drier
weather affecting New Mexico. Located in the southwest corner of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the lightning caused fire has reached 235 acres.
Firefighters have been preparing for the warm, dry weather by reinforcing firelines to hold the fire within the established perimeter. Fire managers continue to monitor the fire by observing, collecting, and recording fire-related data, particularly with regard to fuels, topography, weather, fire behavior, fire effects, smoke and fire location.
There are currently no closures or impacts to recreation or roads due to the fire. The Big Hat Fire is not threatening any structures and will be monitored by fire managers who may use a full range of actions such as conducting hand or aerial ignitions, to delay, direct, or minimize the spread of fire in one or more areas if necessary.
The low intensity surface fire is located in the Banco Bonito area in the southwestern portion of the preserve in an area of forest that had been thinned over the last two years. The fire management team is managing this natural fire for resource benefit, removing forest-floor fuels and improving wildlife habitat, while conserving the cultural resources in the area. Managed fires are only allowed within certain specific parameters and conditions allowing fire managers to be proactive. Additional information, maps, and photos can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4814/.
Smoke will continue to be visible as the fire consumes unburnt fuels within the interior of the fire perimeter. Smoke may settle into low lying areas in the evening. On drier days, an increase in smoke and fire behavior may be noticed. On days with more clouds and moisture there may be little or no smoke or fire growth.
Smoke may be a health concern for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those
suffering from allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities, or other heart or lung diseases. To reduce exposure to smoke, stay indoors with windows, doors, and vents closed. Avoid or limit physical activities outdoors. Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-888-878-8992, or visiting: https://nmtracking.org/fire
Managed for resource benefit, the Big Hat Fire moves slowly through a recently thinned area in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. (NPS photo)