Update on Four Lightning-Caused Fires on Pecos/Las Vegas District

SANTA FE, NM – Sept. 22, 2017 – For Immediate Release.  Fire personnel on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District are currently handling four fires that were ignited by lightning strikes.  Depending on the location, conditions on the ground and forest management objectives, the District’s fire managers are responding with the appropriate strategy.

Palmer Fire: Fire crews are managing the Palmer Fire, detected Sept. 12 on Rowe Mesa, to achieve resource benefit by adding low-intensity fire to the landscape as conditions, including moisture, temperatures and winds, allow. Currently at 157 acres, the Palmer Fire has the potential to treat 11,500 acres.  Crews continue to blackline around adjacent private property while preparing for aerial ignitions next week if conditions are favorable.  Road closures may be in place next week to address public safety concerns.  Smoke generated by the Palmer Fire may be visible in Pecos, Rowe, Ilfeld, San Juan, San Jose, and along the I-25 corridor.

Beaver Creek Fire: Currently estimated at 20 acres, the Beaver Creek Fire is located between Hermit’s Peak and Lone Pine Mesa within the Pecos Wilderness. The Beaver Creek Fire was reported on Sept. 10.  Smoldering and creeping, the fire is burning in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer.  The area’s steep terrain and remote location make it difficult to access and raise concerns about firefighter safety. Lightning-caused fire in wilderness areas is often allowed to play its natural ecological role by reducing fuel loads, renewing vegetation and soil nutrients, and enhancing wildlife habitat.  Fire managers will continue to monitor the Beaver Creek Fire.

Madera Fire: Located in the upper end of Caraneres Canyon a mile south/southeast of Priest Mine, the Sept. 19 Madera Fire was controlled at 2.8 acres. Mop-up operations are expected to be completed today.

Corrales Fire: The quarter-acre Corrales Fire in the Bull Creek area started on Sept. 20 and was contained yesterday after fire crews successfully constructed a fireline around the perimeter.  Mop-up operations today will ensure that no new ignition sources present threats.

Smoke will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures.  Information on air quality and your health is available online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For more information, contact the Pecos Ranger District at 505.757.6121.

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