Ojo de los Casos Fire 10% Contained

Mountainair, NM – For Immediate Release – Firefighters continue to make progress in their work to contain the Ojo de los Casos Fire that has been active over the past couple of days. The fire, burning on the Mountainair Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest has reached 180 acres and is 10% contained. Containment is a direct action where crews remove vegetation next to the fires edge, creating a fireline. With no additional fuel to consume, the fire remains within the established fireline. Percent containment is based off the actual amount of containment line that is safe enough to leave unattended without worries of heat, embers or hot spots flaring up and having potential to cross that line allowing additional growth of the fire. While this number is low today, we expect to see a significant increase the next few days with continued mop up, cold trailing (feeling for heat with un-gloved bare hands) and control efforts.

While the perimeter-based size hasn’t grown much, the fire within the perimeter is active. This fire is what firefighters consider a “scabby” or “dirty” burn. What this means is the fire crawls around within the interior of the perimeter but doesn’t consume all of the vegetation. Lingering heat can hide in unburned fuels close to the ground. It may not be recognized until the right weather and dry fuel conditions but when the fuels ignite, they may burn hot and rapid. This torching is more likely to throw sparks across the line and is what firefighters are most concerned about.

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: As this high pressure system continues over the fire, today is expected to be hot, with temperatures in the 90s and relative humidity in single digits to low teens today. Winds will be from the west at 10-15 mph in the morning becoming terrain dominated at 5-10 mph in the afternoon.

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.

Drones: 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!

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.

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

Location: Manzano Mountains

Date Reported: 7/8/2020

Cause: Human

Size: 180 acres

Percent Contained: 10%

Fuel: Ponderosa pine, Slash

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

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