Medio Fire Update Aug. 19, 2020, 2 p.m.

Start date: Aug. 17, 2020         Cause: Unknown          Size: Approximately 285 acres

Location: Off the Rio en Medio Trail on the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) between the Rio Nambe and the Rio en Medio, approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Rio en Medio, 2 miles east/southeast of Nambe Reservoir and 5 miles north/northwest of the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

Containment: 0%

Fuels and fire behavior: The Medio Fire is burning in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer in steep, rocky terrain. Fire behavior this morning was moderate but is expected to pick up during the heat of the day. The fire is pushing eastward toward the Pecos Wilderness and the burn scar from the 2011 Pacheco Fire.

Strategy: SFNF fire managers are working closely with cooperators and partners, including the Nambe and Tesuque Pueblos, Santa Fe County and New Mexico State Forestry, to develop a containment strategy for the Medio Fire.  Due to the remote location of the fire and the rugged terrain, the strategy will be a combination of direct and indirect perimeter control and point protection. Firefighters are scouting for anchor points and natural barriers that will help confine the fire.

Resources on scene: A Type 3 Incident Commander and about 70 personnel are assigned to the Medio Fire. Resources on scene include the Mt. Taylor Hotshots, 4 engines, a Type 3 helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. A second hotshot crew, the Silver City Hotshots, arrived today.

Weather: Partly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely this afternoon. Temperatures remain above average, and humidity is in the 14-19% range. Winds of 5-10 mph will be coming out of the north this afternoon.

Values at risk: Values at risk include Nambe Reservoir, tribal inholdings and traditional cultural resources, the Village of Rio en Medio, powerlines including the Jemez Electric Coop powerline, the Rio Nambe/Rio Capulin and Rio en Medio watersheds, and trails and cultural sites on the SFNF. The Medio Fire is currently not threatening any structures, and there are no evacuations in place.  

Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public are always the first priority. Firefighters are conducting operations under protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

Smoke from the Medio Fire is likely to be visible from Santa Fe and surrounding communities as well as along the I-25 and US 285 corridors. 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 can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. The Forest Stewards Guild offers a HEPA Filter Loan Program that are available on a first come/first served basis. Additional information on air filters and the HEPA loan program is posted at http://www.santafefireshed.org/hepa-filter-loan-program#smokeanchor3.

Members of the public should stay away from fire operations and staging areas, including the Rio en Medio Community Center, Nambe Reservoir, and the Rio en Medio (#163), Viejo (#179), Borrego (#150), Nambe (#160), and Capulin (#158) Trails on the SFNF. 

Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause air operations to cease. The public is reminded that “If you fly, we can’t!” Fire managers have implemented a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) to create a safety buffer for both ground and air crews.

Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.

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