Cueva Fire Completes Firing Operations, Meets Objectives

SANTA FE, NM – Aug. 16, 2019 – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) said today objectives for the Cueva Fire have been successfully met with yesterday’s firing operations. Ignitions have ceased, and no future growth is expected outside the approximately 1,000-acre planning area.

Crews will continue to check containment lines, assess archaeological sites within the planning area and establish points to proactively address any unexpected growth outside the planning area.

Taking advantage of favorable conditions to improve conditions on the ground, the SFNF managed the lightning-caused Cueva Fire by adding low-intensity fire to reduce fuel loadings and create a more fire-resilient landscape. This type of managed fire enhances wildlife habitat and promotes forage growth for wildlife and livestock.  Firefighter and public safety is always the first priority on all wildland fire incidents.

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:  1,011 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 be monitoring fire activity and checking containment lines

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 Lindrith, Llaves, Abiquiu and Gallina as well as private inholdings in Rio Gallina and Rio Chama.

Smoke is expected to impact the surrounding areas for the next several days. 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.

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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