Cow Fire Update

July 24, 2017 Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest

Start Date: July 18, 2017

Cause: Lightning struck a single standing dead tree (snag)

Size: 3.5 acres

Location: On the Pecos Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, about 6 miles northeast of the village of Pecos near Cow Creek

Vegetation: The fire is in the burn scar from the 2000 Viveash Fire and is burning through dead and down timber and brush.

Current Situation: When the snag that was hit by lightning fell, fire started creeping slowly down the slopes. Since July 18, it has been backing up and burning through grasses and heavy fuels on the ground. The strategy is to let the Cow Fire treat those heavy fuels to mitigate the risk of future high-intensity wildfire. A rocky area on the north side of the fire is holding it, and green drainages to the east and west of the fire will help keep it from growing. Fire crews are monitoring the Cow Fire on a daily basis.

Weather: Seasonal monsoonal weather patterns have been predicted since the Cow Fire started, but the fire itself has not received much moisture. Fire managers expect some moisture on the fire this week.

Smoke/Air Quality: Smoke from the Cow Fire may be visible from Cow Creek, the Pecos Valley, I-25 between Pecos and Las Vegas, and State Roads 50 and 63. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease 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

Fire Information: Updates will be posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at and on @SantaFeNF and For additional information, contact the Pecos Ranger District at 505.757.6121.

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