Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires

May 9, 2022, Daily Update, 09:00AM

Acres:  189,767 acres – Containment: 43% – Total personnel:  1,685 Start Date:  Hermits Peak: April 6, 2022; Calf Canyon: April 19, 2022 Cause: Hermits Peak: spot fires from prescribed burn; Calf Canyon: under investigation Location: Located near Gallinas Canyon – Fuels: Heavy mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, brush, and grass

Highlights: A 59-hour Red Flag Warning began Saturday at 11:00 AM and continues through tonight to 9:00 PM. Additionally, a High Wind Warning began Sunday and goes until 8:00 PM tonight. This rare multi-day event has fueled very active fire behavior and movement. Fire will spread rapidly when winds align with available grass, brush, trees, and other fuels. Due to the wind, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were grounded early Sunday and likely will be today. While firefighters have been engaged around the clock in a battle against this wind-driven fire, they will disengage if their situation becomes too dangerous. However, they remain in communities around the fire to protect homes and values. As the fire moves, fire leadership continues to look further out for places to build contingency lines to slow the fire down and stop itTemporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) have been extended further to the north and apply to drones and aircraft not working the fire. As the fire moves north, Taos County has issued Ready and Set notifications for some areas. Residents of San Miguel, Mora, and Taos counties should remain on high alert for changes to evacuation statuses and road closures. 

Operations: On the north side yesterday, spot fires took hold north of NM Highway 518. Spotting occurs when the wind blows embers across the fireline and ignites fuels in a new area. Today it could spread rapidly towards the northeast towards El Turquillo, with long-range spotting and extreme fire behavior. Firefighters will remain if it’s safe. Many lines have been established, and structure protection measures are in place. On the east side from Ledoux down to Las Vegas, the fireline has held up to the high winds, allowing for increased containment. Crews will continue to monitor and patrol those areas. On the south, the fire remains very active. Today it is expected to move towards Barillas Peak and San Geronimo. Structure groups continue to work in the area and further south to minimize impacts on homes and infrastructure. Firefighters are working on constructing and tying together dozer and handline with existing roads and trail systems to catch it. Predictions also show the fire in this area could run back into itself due to the wind direction and terrain. Near Bull Creek and west of Upper and Lower Colonias, firefighters are working to construct contingency line and tie it into existing lines. Further up on the west, fire is backing towards Lone Pine Mesa and Blue Bell Ridge into the Pecos Wilderness and crews are monitoring. Firefighters are still engaged around Rosiada and surrounding communities to protect structures and guide fire around homes. North of Gascon, the fire is pushing towards the wilderness near Enchanted Lake.

Evacuations: Scan the QR code for the latest evacuation map or visit the ArcGIS Map. It is imperative to respect closures and follow evacuation orders. Please follow San Miguel County and Mora County Sheriff’s Facebook pages for the latest updates at https://www.facebook.com/smcso.nm and https://www.facebook.com/moracountysheriffoffice.

Weather: Very strong winds are expected. On the southern end, winds will be southwest to west 30 to 35 mph with gusts 50 to 55. In the Mora River Valley, winds will be west to northwest 15 to 20 mph with gusts 30 to 35. Maximum temperatures will be in the upper 60’s to low 80’s. Minimum relative humidity values will be 6 to 12%.

Restrictions: The Santa Fe National Forest closure order includes the entire Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District. Forest-wide Stage 2 fire restrictions have been implemented. Full closure order and map are available at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/santafe/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprd3802009.

Smoke: An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

Future Fire Information: The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires Information office hours are 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM.  The phone number for fire information is 505-356-2636. The email address is 2022.hermitspeak@firenet.gov. Fire information is posted on Inciweb, the SFNF Facebook and Twitter, SFNF website, and New Mexico Fire Information website.

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