Cueva Fire Update – Aug. 14, 2019

SANTA FE, NM – Aug. 14, 2019 – Today, fire managers will resume firing operations within the planning area of the Cueva Fire. An expected decrease in monsoonal thunderstorms over the next week will bring warmer, drier weather. Anticipating these more favorable conditions, fire managers will continue to assess the terrain and values at risk within the planning area.

Start date: August 6, 2019

Cause: Lightning

Location: French Mesa, located on the north end of the Coyote Ranger District, adjacent to Forest Road 8, north of Gallina

Size:  294 acres

Fuels: Primarily ponderosa pine and pinon-juniper

Resources on scene: 2 New Mexico State Forestry IWC Crews, Coyote Ranger District fire personnel

Current status: Crews will monitor the Cueva Fire and continue firing operations as conditions allow

Weather: Mostly clear conditions, winds out of the west at 5-15 mph and temperatures in the 80s

Predicted smoke impact: Smoke is visible from US Highway 112 and Highway 96. Possible smoke impact to the communities of Llaves, Abiquiu and Gallina as well as private inholdings in Rio Gallina and Rio Chama.

As temperatures increase in the area over the week, smoke from the Cueva Fire is also likely to increase. 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

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is managing the lightning-caused Cueva Fire to improve forest conditions and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire in the future.  The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) can take advantage of natural ignitions like the Cueva Fire to improve conditions on the ground by getting rid of woody material and debris on the forest floor. Firefighter and public safety is always the first priority on all wildland fire incidents.

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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