Cueva Fire Meets Objectives, Reduces Fuel Loads on the Ground

SANTA FE, NM – Aug. 26, 2019 – After successful aerial ignitions on Friday, low-intensity fire continued to burn through concentrations of fuel on the Cueva Fire on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) over the weekend. As woody debris and other fuels within the planning area are consumed, the Cueva Fire is producing less smoke with low to moderate smoke impact expected as the burn area continues to cool.

Fire managers took advantage of the lightning-caused fire to reintroduce fire to the landscape to restore forest health and reduce the risk of future high-severity fire by reducing fuel loads. Increased chances for wetting storms will occur Wednesday and continue throughout the week. A recharge in moisture Friday night or Saturday will also create opportunity for wetting storms going into Sunday. Unless significant changes occur, this will be the final update on the Cueva Fire.

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: 1,176 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 continue to monitor the fire within the planning area.

Weather: Mostly sunny, winds out of the west at 15-20 mph and temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. Chances of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday through Sunday.

Predicted smoke impact: Low to moderate smoke impact expected, depending on fire activity. Potential impacts to US Highway 112 and Highway 96 as well as the communities of Lindrith, Llaves, Abiquiu and Gallina. Rio Gallina and Rio Chama may also be impacted. Smoke may also be visible from Tierra Amarilla, El Vado and Canjilon.

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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