Aerial Ignitions Underway on Cuervito Fire

SANTA FE, NM – May 16, 2021 – The Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) in command of the lightning-caused Cuervito Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) began aerial ignitions in the fire’s interior as part of a management strategy to reintroduce low to moderate fire intensity into a primarily fire-adapted ecosystem and reduce the hazardous build-up of heavy and overgrown vegetation.

Location: 9 miles east of Pecos and 3 miles southwest of the Barillas Lookout on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

Start Date:  May 9, 2021

Size:  Approximately 1,000 acres with the potential for approximately 1,600 acres

Cause:  Lightning

Resources Assigned:  4 hand crews, 5 engines, 2 dozers, 1 masticator, 1 water tender and 1 type 3 helicopter

Fuels:  Ponderosa pine, piñon-juniper, Douglas fir and oak brush

Operations:  Aerial ignitions today in the fire’s interior are clearing woody debris from the forest floor while hand operations continued on the north end of the Cuervito Fire. Management activities will continue through the evening as conditions allow. The Cuervito Fire is being managed to achieve significant benefits on the ground, including a healthier forest and reduced risk of future high-severity wildfire.

Weather: The higher dew points return tonight as a back door cold front arrives after midnight. Humidity recoveries are looking good as the moisture hangs around on Monday with a better chance for showers and thunderstorms. Tonight, sky weather is looking to be mostly cloudy with a 10% chance of precipitation. Temperatures will be between 41 and 45 degrees with winds out of the southwest at 6 to 12 mph, shifting to northeast at 3 to 7 mph overnight.

Values at risk:  Firefighter and public safety is always the number-one priority for the IMT. Values at risk include private property nearby.

Smoke:  Smoke management is a key part of the planning and implementation of managed wildfire. Smoke from the Cuervito Firemay impact the communities of Santa Fe, Pecos, Las Vegas, Rowe, Glorieta, La Cueva, North and South San Ysidro, Ilfeld, San Jose, San Juan, Tecolote, Soham, Ribera, Serafina, Bernal, Anton Chico, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo and Pablo as well as the I-25 corridor and the Pecos National Historical Park.

Safety:  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. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.

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

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