Conejos Fire Update – July 31, 2019

SANTA FE, NM – July 31, 2019 – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) have determined that the lightning-caused Conejos Fire on the Jemez Ranger District is a good candidate to manage to improve forest conditions and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire in the future.

The Conejos Fire was discovered Monday night on Conejos Peak adjacent to Forest Road 266, about 4 miles northeast of the Paliza Campground and 5 miles from the community of Ponderosa.

Size: 24 acres

Resources on scene: Type 4 Incident Commander, one Hotshot crew, one Type 2 initial attack crew, Santa Fe County Fire Department’s Black Canyon hand crew, Jemez Pueblo’s Jemez Eagles Type 2 crew, two Type 6 engines and miscellaneous overhead.

Current operations: The Conejos Fire continues to consume fuels on the ground as it creeps through primarily ponderosa pine forest. Fire crews are constructing and prepping containment lines.

Weather: Partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms possible in the afternoon with winds out of the southeast at 5-10 mph. A backdoor front is expected to increase moisture over the area later this week.

Predicted smoke impact: Smoke is visible from US Highway 550, San Ysidro and Jemez Pueblo. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years on average as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth. Managing a lightning-caused ignition like the Conejos Fire mimics that natural process by reintroducing fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and reducing the risk of high-severity wildfire by reducing fine fuels and debris on the forest floor.

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at, and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the Conejos Fire, please contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535.

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