Lightning Caused Wildfires across the Forest

Taos, NM (August 7, 2018) – For Immediate Release. Lightning-caused wildfires are a common occurrence during the monsoon season. Recent lighting storms started two new wildfires on the Carson National Forest. These fires are minimal in size and monsoon moisture is expected to continue in the area so growth potential is expected to be minimal.

The Tetillas Fire, located approximately 3 miles east of Ranchos de Taos in the Rio Chiquito drainage was discovered on August 6. The lighting caused fire is approximately 1 acre in a remote steep inaccessible terrain. The fire appears to have been smoldering and creeping for several days before being discovered. Local Forest Service firefighters with assist from a State engine are working their way in to actively begin suppressing the Tetillas fire. We want the public to know that we are being responsive even with fires spread across the West and reports of resources are thin throughout the nation at this time. Smoke may be visible in the Rio Chiquito area.

The Rito Primero Fire is burning in the Rito Primero Canyon within the Latir Peak Wilderness northeast of Questa. This fire was discovered on August 6. The lightning-caused single tree fire is about 200 yards from a ridgeline and estimated to be 1/10 acre. The fire was moderately visible last night in the communities of El Rito, Cerro and Questa.

The Big Snag Fire is another single tree lighting-caused fire. It is a large snag that fell sometime this afternoon and fire personnel constructed line around it. The fire is estimated to less than 1/10 acre.

Local fire personnel also reported putting out two abandon campfires, one inside the fire ring at Cebolla Mesa and one outside the fire ring at Trampas Trail. Forest users are reminded to make sure the fire is completely out prior to vacating the site.

The Sardinas Canyon Fire, located 18 miles southeast of Taos, New Mexico remains 50 percent contained. Due to steep and inaccessible terrain, the northeast portion of the fire perimeter will not be fully contained until substantial rainfall occurs over the fire area. Forest Road 76 and 442 and the area closure around the fire is still in effect for public safety. Forest officials will continue to evaluate when these roads can be re-opened for public use after the monsoons.

Smoke impact to local communities at this time is low, however, smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease should be prepared to exercise 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 updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at, http://www.twitter/CarsonNF,, or contact the Public Affairs Office at (575) 758 6303.
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