Jemez Springs, NM – Aug. 13, 2016 – For Immediate Release. Management of the Virgin Fire has transferred from the Jemez Ranger District to a Type 3 Incident Management Team under Incident Commander (IC) Randy Prewitt. Additional fire resources will arrive over the next few days.
The Virgin Fire is currently at 72 acres and fire managers are preparing an area surrounding the present location of the fire to include a possible addition of close to 1,900 acres. This fire is being managed for multiple objectives. The objectives for the Virgin Fire include mitigating the risk of catastrophic wildfire by reducing forest fuels, enhancing wildlife habitat by reducing dense understories and increasing forbs and grass cover, improving forest and watershed health, and protecting nearby communities.
Today crews will begin preparing the project area for firing operations that could start as soon as Monday, if conditions are favorable. Daily acreage will vary once ignitions begin. Forest Service archeologists, and Jemez Pueblo representatives, will continue surveying and providing protection of historic and cultural sites on Virgin Mesa.
Public traffic is highly discouraged on the north end of Forest Road (FR) 376 up to FR 604 and around the Fenton Hill and Virgin Mesa area due to heavy firefighter traffic and narrow road conditions. Caution is also advised while driving along Highway 4 and Highway 126.
Smoke from the Virgin Fire may be visible from NM Highway 4, US Route 550, the Pueblo of Jemez, Gilman, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, and Jemez Springs. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
A Virgin Fire Hotline has been established and can be reached at 575.829.3535 ex 3132. Updates will also be available on the New Mexico Fire Information website at nmfireinfo.com, @SantaFeNF and http://www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF.
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