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 https://nmtracking.org/fire. 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 https://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.

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 www.nmfireinfo.com, www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the Conejos Fire, please contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535.

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