Hondito Wildfire Update May 23, 2017

Location:      Tres Piedras Ranger Station

Hondito Canyon

4 miles southwest of Tres Piedras

2 miles North of Las Tablas


Size:  7,200 acres

Cause:  Lightning

Start Date:  May 15, 2017

Taos, NM – May 23, 2017 For Immediate Release- Fire managers are very pleased with the activity on the Hondito Wildfire over the past few days.  Favorable conditions today allowed fire crews to complete an additional 2,200 acres bringing the total to 7,200 acres.  A two pronged approach was used with aerial ignitions reaching interior pockets of fuel and hand ignitions strengthening the perimeter.  Fire behavior is expected to be low tomorrow.  Fire managers have made a decision to pause firing operations to ease smoke impacts on communities.  However, with a forecasted drying trend moving in over the next seven days, firing operations may resume.  Fire crews will continue to monitor the fire as it continues to burn at a low intensity.

CLOSURE ORDER 02-442: The area under the closure order is adjacent to Township 28 N, Range 9 E, Section 31, Junction of Forest Road (FR) 222/675T and FR 167 to the junction of FR 222/1864 to the US Highway 64 junction approximately three miles north of the Tres Piedras Ranger District Office.  The closure order includes motorized traffic of any kind in the restricted area.  Exemptions include federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force, and anyone with a valid Forest Service permit exempting them from the order.  Forest Service personnel will enforce the orders.  Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 or individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or both. [Title 16 USC 551, Title 18 USC 3559, 3571 and 3581]

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern forests every two to 10 years as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth.  Fire managers are taking advantage of the Hondito Wildfire to return low-intensity fire to this landscape in a controlled operation that meets forest objectives.  The objectives for the Hondito Wildfire include mitigating the risk of high-intensity 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.

Smoke from the Hondito Wildfire may be visible from Tres Piedras, Taos, Questa, US Highway 64, US Highway 285.  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.

For fire information, please call the Hondito Wildfire Public Information line from 8am to 8pm at (575)758-6345, or visit Carson National Forest Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNF, Twitter @CarsonNF, and NMFireInfo.com.


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