Cerro Pelado Fire Update – Sunday, April 24, 2022

Hours: 8 am-8 pm            Phone:  505-312-4593      Email: 2022.CerroPelado@firenet.gov     
www.facebook.com/2022.cerropeladofire         Twitter: https://twitter.com/SantafeNF

The Cerro Pelado Fire, 7 miles east of Jemez Springs, New Mexico, started on Friday, April 22, during an epic wind event. The cause of the fire is under investigation. It is burning in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer trees and brush. The fire is close to the fire footprint from the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire and the 2017 Cajete Fire. The current fire footprint includes forest units that have previously been treated to reduce fire hazard.

Acreage: 3,445 (decrease due to better mapping) Containment: 0 percent

Personnel and Equipment:  46 total personnel; 9 engines, 2 bulldozers, 1 small and 2 large helicopters. More people and equipment have been ordered.

Yesterday: With clear skies and reduced winds, firefighters flew over the fire to map the fire and assess damage to structures. They identified several spot fires to the east of the main fire and used helicopters to cool them with water drops. Retardant was dropped along Forest Service Road (FR) 270 to help keep the fire from spreading south. The Sierra de Los Pinos and Cochiti Mesa communities of about 100 residences remained evacuated and firefighters continued to protect structures. The Southern Area Red Team, a Type 1 Incident Management Team, arrived to assume command of the fire this morning.

Today: Firefighters will continue to protect structures near the fire, including the Sierra de Los Pinos and Cochiti Mesa communities. Helicopters will be used to further assess the fire and drop water to cool hot spots. Firefighters will work along FR 270 east towards Cerro Pelado Lookout to hold the fire north of FR 270 and east of FR 10. They will consult with resource advisors before ground-disturbing activities to protect sites of cultural importance. Firefighters will also patrol and monitor the fire at night.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Today is mostly sunny with west winds 5-9 mph, gusting up to 15 mph. High temperatures will be 54-58 degrees and relative humidity will be 10 to 14 percent.

On the east side of the fire, winds will push the fire east into the fire footprint from the 2011 Las Conchas Fire. On the south side, it will move into the 2017 Cajete Fire footprint which should slow the fire in this area. On the north side, fire will move into the 2014 Pinto Fire footprint also slowing the fire. Low to moderate fire behavior, with fire backing downslope and occasional upslope runs, is expected on the west side.

Evacuations, Shelter Areas: The Sandoval County Fire Department and Emergency Management will provide updated information on evacuations, as needed. The Sierra de Los Pinos and Cochiti Mesa communities remain evacuated. Evacuees may seek shelter at the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church, 6 Riverview Court, Jemez Springs, New Mexico, 575-829-4475. Those who evacuated livestock may bring them to the Expo/New Mexico Center at 300 San Pedro Drive NW, Albuquerque or the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Posse Arena at 1043 Rodeo Lane, Bernalillo, New Mexico (call Yvette Arnold 505-263-6388).

Air quality: Information on air quality is at New Mexico Department of Health Environmental Public Health Tracking, https://nmtracking.org./fire.  An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

Closures: New Mexico State Police have closed NM Highway 4 from the junction with NM 126 east to nearly the NM-501 intersection at the Los Alamos “back gate.”  Please stay clear of the Jemez Springs area to keep yourself and firefighters safe. 

Fire Restrictions: Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for the Santa Fe National Forest, which prohibits building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove including charcoal and briquettes. Smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is cleared of flammable material. For other activities prohibited under Stage II Fire Restrictions, see httlps://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe

Also, due to ongoing fire threats, Sandoval County will not issue burn permits.

Temporary Flight Restriction:  There is a flight restriction on the area over the fire (10 nautical miles southwest of Los Alamos, NOTAM 2/2278). https://www.tfr.faa.gov.  Drones over the fire are also prohibited.

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