Ojo de Los Casos Fire Burning Near Dog Head Fire Scar

Mountainair, NM – For Immediate Release – The Ojo de los Casos Fire, burning on the Mountainair Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest since Wednesday July 8, has reached 167 acres and is 0% contained. The size increase is contributed to more accurate mapping as well as an infrared flight overnight. Lots of good containment lines have been established around the fire but, because of the intense heat within the fire perimeter combined with very hot weather conditions, fire managers are not yet prepared to increase containment percentage. Hand crews continued working through the night to construct and reinforce containment lines. Today, air operations will continue to drop water to slow the fire spread. Engines and hand crews will mop up areas of the fire to the south, and hotshot crews and air support will focus on the north to protect private property.

The fire is located roughly 7 miles southwest of the village of Chilili. Structural crews will be scouting areas out ahead of the fire simply to be prepared in the event sudden change in fire behavior. This is precautionary only.

A private drone was spotted flying near the fire this morning, causing the grounding of aviation used to manage the fire. The public is reminded to avoid the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) near wildfires. When drones are illegally flown over a fire, air operations can be suspended, and crews lose a valuable resource, which can adversely affect the safety and efficiency of the overall firefighting effort. Law enforcement can take action against a private citizen or commercial business illegally flying drones over a wildfire. For more information on drones, see https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/uas/if-you-fly, and Know Before You Fly!

No evacuation orders or official closures have been issued at this time. However, local residents are advised to be prepared. For more information on wildfire preparedness, visit the Torrance County webpage here, http://www.torrancecountynm.org/departments/emergency-mgmt.

Weather: Today is expected to be sunny, with temperatures in the 90s and relative humidity in the low teens. Winds will be terrain dominated 5-10 mph from the northwest, becoming 10-15 mph in the afternoon. Slightly higher temperatures and lower humidity could lead to an increase in fire activity today.

Safety: Safety of the public and firefighters is always the top priority in wildland fire operations. Ojo de Los Casos Fire operations include best management practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within firefighter crews/operations and within the general public.

Smoke: Smoke may be visible from I-25, and throughout the East Mountains and Estancia valley. Additional smoke information can be found at http://nmtracking.org/fire.

Closures: A 5-mile temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire for the safety of aviation and ground resources. The fire area will be temporarily closed to fuelwood harvest for firefighter and public safety.

Location: Manzano Mountains              Cause: Unknown          Percent Contained: 0%
Date Reported: 7/8/2020                        Size: 167 acres (IR)      Fuel: Ponderosa pine, Slash

Resources assigned: 1 Type 3 Incident Management Team, 4 Interagency Hotshot Crews, 6 Engines, 1 Air Attack, 2 Helicopters (Type 1, Type 3), 2 Dozers, 1 Medical Screening Team, 1 Medical Decontamination Team, 1 Wildland Fire

Ojo de Los Casos Fire Information: 505-369-6521, 2020.ojodeloscasos@firenet.gov

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6837/

New Mexico Fire Information: www.nmfireinfo.com

Facebook: Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands (@cibolanf) https://www.facebook.com/cibolanf/

Twitter: Cibola NF&Grasslands; (@Cibola_NF) https://twitter.com/cibola_nf?lang=en

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