Medio Fire Update Sept. 7, 2020: Pockets of Unburned Fuels Heat Up Due to High Temps, Single-Digit Humidity

Closure Order Prohibits the Public from Entering the Area

Start date: Aug. 17, 2020             Cause: Lightning              Size: 3,898 acres              Containment: 90%

Location: Rio en Medio Trail, Española Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest

Current status:  The Medio Fire made a little push on the northeast corner into the fire scar from the 2011 Pacheco Fire, adding 125 acres to its footprint and putting up a fair amount of smoke. When the fire hit the Pacheco scar, it dropped from the canopy and is burning in dead and down timber.

Record high temperatures and very low humidities are exacerbating fire behavior with multiple pockets of unburned fuels in the interior starting to heat up. Firefighters are monitoring containment lines on the fire’s perimeter, which continue to hold.

Resources:  Two hand crews, two engine modules, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft.

Closures: The closure order remains in effect prohibiting members of the public from entering the area around the Medio Fire, including all Forest Service lands, roads and trails, roughly defined by the Rio Nambe Trail #160 on the north, the Borrego Trail #150 and Forest Road 412 on the east, Forest Road 102 on the south and back up the forest boundary line on the west to meet the Rio Nambe Trail #160. The Temporary Flight Restriction over the fire remains in place.

Weather:  Hot, dry and unstable conditions continue today. But an unseasonably strong storm system will drive a cold front through New Mexico Tuesday, bringing much lower temperatures, strong winds and widespread rainfall with the possibility of snow at higher elevations.

Values at risk: Nearby communities, Nambe Reservoir infrastructure, tribal and private inholdings, cultural resources, watersheds and riparian areas, power and phone lines, and grazing allotments.

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: Smoke from the Medio Fire is visible as interior pockets of fuel continue to burn. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ 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 https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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

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