Cueva Fire on Coyote Ranger District, SFNF

SANTA FE, NM – Aug. 8, 2019 – The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) discovered a lightning-caused ignition last night near French Mesa, located on the north end of the Coyote Ranger District adjacent to Forest Road 8. Estimated at 2 acres, the Cueva Fire is burning in ponderosa pine and pinon-juniper.

The Cueva Fire is currently in monitor status; however, given current conditions, including forecasted weather, and the location of the fire, fire managers are considering using the Cueva Fire to bring positive benefits to the landscape, including removing the dead and down fuels that have accumulated on the forest floor.

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth and improving habitat for wildlife.

Smoke from the Cueva Fire may impact the surrounding communities of Llaves, Abiquiu and Gallina as well as private inholdings in Rio Gallina and Rio Chama.

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

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at, and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the Cueva Fire, please contact the Coyote Ranger District at 575-638-5526.

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