Ojo de los Casos Crews Assist in Mutual Aid Fire

Mountainair, NM – For Immediate Release – Great progress is still being made in containing the Ojo de los Casos Fire.  The fire, burning on the Mountainair Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest and private lands protected by New Mexico State Forestry, remains at 180 acres and is 38% contained. Yesterday firefighters continued fireline reinforcement by establishing a hose-lay (long strings of water energized hose) around critical areas of the fire. Additional focus on road improvement and rehabilitation occurred in some areas which entailed installation of water bars to help slow or prevent water erosion as monsoons hopefully approach. Unburned pockets of fuel continue to be a concern, so mop-up and cold-trailing within the perimeter is a focus for firefighters today as they push further inward to cool more hot spots that could spot or compromise fire lines. The hose-lays completed yesterday will greatly aid in mop-up. Snags (dead standing trees) within the old Doghead Fire are also posing a real challenge and risk to firefighters as these trees can unexpectedly come down with the slightest breeze.

Yesterday the Albuquerque Zone Incident Management’s Structure Protection/Initial Attack Division assigned to the Ojo De Los Casos Fire responded to a 16 acre grass fire near Riley Rd, southeast of the Highway 337/55 junction.  Resources from New Mexico State Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and Albuquerque Fire all assisted Torrance County with initial attack. Crews assigned to the Mountainair Ranger District also staged in the area to provide assistance if needed. This was a great example of multiple agencies working together for a common cause. 

Evacuations: 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: Hot temperatures continue today, with temperatures again in the upper 80s and 90s and relative humidity 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. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms this 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. 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: 38%

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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