Cueva Fire Update – Aug. 15, 2019

SANTA FE, NM – Aug. 15, 2019 – By taking advantage of today’s weather conditions, fire managers on the Cueva Fire will continue to reduce fuels on the ground by implementing firing operations east of the focus area. Fire managers have tied the Cueva Fire into the French Mesa prescribed burn conducted in 2018 and will continue to use the treated area as an anchor.

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 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.

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. Weather over the next few days will determine whether the Cueva Fire can continue to achieve resource benefits by reintroducing fire to a fire-adapted forest ecosystem. 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 www.nmfireinfo.com, www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the Cueva Fire, please contact the Coyote Ranger District at 575-638-5526.

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