Cooks Peak Fire – Mora County – April 20, 2022, Evening Update

The Cooks Peak Fire, located on private land north of Ocate in Mora County, is now estimated at 20,000 acres and 0% containment. The adjustment in acreage comes after an infrared flight was made over the fire late this afternoon. Significant winds continue to fuel the Cooks Peak Fire along with severe drought conditions and an abundance of fine fuels like grasses. The eastern flank of the fire remains very active as it pushes toward the Colfax County line. State, private, and Bureau of Land Management lands are being impacted. County Road 009 (CR009) and Highway 120 will remain closed along with junction 120 and 442. All remaining residents nearest to the fire are urged to be ready to evacuate if the situation changes. This incident continues to evolve and information may change rapidly.

  • The Type 3 organization currently managing the Cooks Peak Fire will transition to a Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT) Thursday afternoon (04/21). The Type 2 IMT will then take over full operations Friday, April 22 at 6:00 a.m.
  • The Mora and Colfax County Sheriff’s Offices are using the Ready, Set, Go! program for evacuation status. In Mora County, areas east of CR009 and north of NM Highway 120 are in Go status, which means residents in this area have already evacuated. Areas west of County Road 009 are in Ready status as well as the communities of Sweet Water, Rayado, Sunny Side, and Miami in Colfax County. This means residents must be prepared to leave immediately if a full evacuation is necessary. Additional information can be found on the Mora County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/moracountysheriffoffice.
  • Multiple law enforcement agencies are patrolling and stationed in the fire area, including the Mora County Sheriff’s Office, Taos County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, and agents with the New Mexico Livestock Board.

Evacuation Centers: Memorial Middle School in Las Vegas, Wagon Mound Public Schools, and Mora Schools are available for evacuees if needed.

Livestock: The American Legion Pavilion in Mora, Colfax County Fairgrounds, and Cimarron County Fairgrounds are available for evacuated horses and livestock. The State Land Office is also offering a pasture for large animals displaced by the fire. Contact Livestock Inspector, Matthew Romero at 575-643-6805 for more information.

Closures: CR009 and Highway 120 will remain closed along with junction 120 and 442. Additional road closures may be necessary and drivers are urged to obey all traffic signage.

Smoke: An Air Quality Alert has been issued until noon Thursday. Smoke will also impact travel on Interstate 25 between Wagon Mound and Springer tonight (04/20) and settle into low-lying areas in communities north and east of the fire. Individuals sensitive to wildfire smoke should take precautions and use the New Mexico Department of Health 5-3-1 Visibility Method to determine if it’s safe to be outside. Learn more at https://nmtracking.org/environment/air/FireAndSmoke.html.  An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

Fire information will be posted to the following websites.
NM Fire Info: www.nmfireinfo.com
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8066/
Donation Information: New Mexico Red Cross 505-265-8514

Incident Name: Cooks Peak

Start Date & Time: 4/17/22 @ 1615

Start Location: Ocate off of HWY 120 Canada Bonita

Latitude: 36.24352

Longitude: -105.03793


Cause of Fire:  Under investigation

Area Vegetation: Grass, pinon, juniper, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifer

Estimated Acres Burned: 20,000 after infrared flight

Ownership(s): Private, state, BLM

Structures Threatened: Yes

Structures Burned: No

Evacuations: Yes

Wendy Mason
Wildfire Prevention & Communications Coordinator
Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Dept. (EMNRD)

Forestry Division
wendy.mason@state.nm.us

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