Cajete Fire Update June 19, 2017, 8:00 a.m.




FIRE INFORMATION: 505.438.5300

Location: The Cajete Fire is burning in the Jemez Ranger District on the Santa Fe National Forest, on both sides of NM Highway 4 along the southern boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The fire started approximately one mile northeast of Vallecitos de los Indios (Sierra de los Pinos). The fire area runs along the East Fork of the Jemez River and is west of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire burn scar and southeast of the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire burn scar.

Start Date: June 15, 2017 Cause: Abandoned campfire Size: 1,400 acres Containment: 80%

Vegetation: Mostly ponderosa pine with some mixed conifer and aspen on the north facing slopes.

Resources Assigned: 424 personnel – 4 Type 1 Crews, 8 Type 2 crews, 7 engines, 1 dozer, 3 water tenders, 1 bulldozer, 2 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, and 1 Type 3 helicopter

Incident Command: California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, led by Mark von Tillow, Incident Commander, is managing the fire.

Current Situation: Last night crews on the fireline observed minimal fire activity. Heavy dead and down timber continues to burn in the interior of fire. The uncontained section of the fire perimeter is within a snag patch (a section of standing dead trees) in the southeastern corner of the fire near Los Griegos Peak. The standing dead trees in this area, left by the 2011 Las Conchas fire, can fall suddenly, making this area too dangerous for firefighters to enter. Water drops are being used to control this part of the fire which was previously treated with fire retardant to stop its advance. This portion of the fire has been holding and is not expected to grow.

The helitack crew, a specially trained crew that is deployed by a helicopter, repelled into Los Griegos Peak yesterday and cleared a helispot for landing helicopters. Today this helispot will be used to fly in two additional hand crews (approximately 45 firefighters), as well as supplies for the crews working in this area.

Fire crews will also continue to improve the containment lines and do mop up along the north and south portion of the fire perimeter. Firefighters have also begun fire suppression repair, working to remove signs of suppression activity and prevent erosion.

Weather: Partly cloudy conditions with the slight chance of thunderstorms accompanied by gusty and erratic winds and the possibility of dry lightning with any thunderstorm development. Cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity will help to dampen fire activity.

Closures and Evacuations: All closures and evacuations have been lifted. Residents and visitors should avoid entering the burned area which is very hazardous. A closure of the fire perimeter will be put into effect. The New Mexico State Police will be patrolling Highway 4 in the fire area where the speed limit has been reduced to 35 miles per hour.

Access to Area Attractions: All businesses and recreation sites in and around Jemez Springs are open and accessible, with the exception of the Jemez Falls and Redondo Campgrounds, and the Las Conchas Trail, which remain closed.

Values to be Protected: Businesses, recreation sites, multiple structures, and small communities including Vallecitos de los Indios to the south, La Cueva to the northwest and many ranches, homes and private land parcels. Several high-use recreation areas in proximity to the Cajete Fire include Jemez Falls, Battleship Rock, Jemez Canyon Overlook, several campgrounds and trails. Sacred sites and other cultural resources. The Wild and Scenic Jemez River, and threatened and endangered species, including the Jemez Mountain salamander.

Smoke: Smoke from the Cajete fire will still be visible as fuels in the interior continue to smolder. Although reduced, smoke may continue to impact air quality in the Rio Grande Valley. Smoke tends to be heaviest in the morning after settling with cool air at night, and could reduce visibility during the early morning hours.

Fire Information: Updates will be posted on InciWeb at, as well as New Mexico Fire Information website at and on @SantaFeNF and

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