Caja Fire Update Aug. 26, 2020

Perimeter Mapping Gives Firefighters New Data,
Reduces Caja Fire Footprint to 158 Acres, 50% Contained

Start date: Aug. 23, 2020                                      

Cause: Presumed to be lightning           

Size: 158 acres. Earlier estimates were based on aerial observation during heavy smoke and active fire behavior.

Location: Colorado Peak on the Caja del Rio Plateau, the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF)

Containment: 50%

Fuels and fire behavior:  Fire behavior today is low to light moderate with limited single-tree torching expected to continue in the fire’s interior for a couple more days.

Strategy: The strategy for the Caja Fire is full suppression. Firefighters have taken advantage of natural and manmade barriers, including the two-track road, to secure the Caja Fire’s perimeter.  Crews continue cold trailing the edges of the fire, feeling for heat and digging out or trenching around hot spots. By end of shift today, fire managers expect to have a combination of handline and dozer line completed around the 158-acre fire.  

Resources: Approximately 30 personnel are on scene, including three engines and a dozer.

Weather: Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue over high terrain with a 70% chance of precipitation. Crews are prepared for unpredictable downdrafts associated with afternoon storm cells. Ventilation rates are expected to remain poor to fair through Friday which means continued haze and smoke.

Values at risk: There are no immediate values at risk, although natural and cultural resources and a powerline are in proximity.

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. Members of the public should stay away from fire operations and staging areas.  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!”

Smoke from the Caja Fire is likely to be visible from Santa Fe to Los Alamos and along the I-25 corridor and the 599 Bypass, mingling with smoke from the Medio Fire and multiple fires burning in adjacent states. An interactive smoke map at allows you to zoom into the Santa Fe area to see the latest smoke information. 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 at

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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