Fire On The Mountain, 2013

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June 1 - Once again it is fire season in NM, kicking off this year with the Tres Lagunas Fire in the Upper Pecos Canyon. Here is what the smoke over the Pecos Valley looked like yesterday evening. This is the third major fire in that area over the past fifteen years or so.  :(

If you want to monitor this fire's status, go to New Mexico Fire Information and select Tres Lagunas Fire Update for a text account. For a visual reference, use the GeoMAC Viewer and zoom in on NM (under Base Data, switch the display between imagery or topo layer). 

As I post this it appears that we now have the Thompson Ridge Fire to keep an eye on, just starting up and affecting the Valles Caldera National Preserve where we have a mycoblitz planned for next month (the same monitoring info applies as above). The 2013 fire season is off to a running start.

The links above, and more, are also available in the Weather (Water/Fire) section at the bottom of our Links page. 

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June 1 Evening Update



It looks as though the Thompson Ridge Fire was pretty active today, enough so that I can now see it from here on the east side of the Sangre de Cristos. Here's the smoke from the fire in the Pecos on the right, slightly west of north of  me, with the smoke from the Jemez, more to the west, drifting over the mountains on the left. This is not what I had in mind above in regard to being able to "keep an eye on" it. The two plumes appear to be about to join and blanket the area here and to the east. 

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June 3 - Here are some new links for more information on these two fires:
Tres Lagunas Fire Information: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3401/
Thompson Ridge Fire Information:
 http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3404/
To track all the fires in the state, go to: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/32/

There is some serious mapping going on here: http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/
including KML and KMZ files of active layers for viewing in Google Earth.
Katie says to pick "Current" from Fire Detections (MODIS).

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June 5 - My volunteer fire department has a truck providing tanker support on the Tres Lagunas Fire (the red one on the right), and I had occasion to deliver some supplies up there today. Here's the view from the parking lot in front of the Terrero Store, looking south down the Pecos Canyon toward the mouth of Holy Ghost Canyon which joins from the west.

Most of this hillside has already burned out, with a few hot spots remaining. The bulk of the activity is on the back side of these hills going up Holy Ghost Canyon, and east across the Pecos Canyon heading toward Elk Mountain.

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June 11 - There seems to be some promising news on the fire front this morning. My department's tanker was demobilized, and hand crews were released from service on the Tres Lagunas Fire yesterday. At 70% contained, it's sounding as though they think they have it pretty well under control at this time, which pleases me no end.

Similar progress seems to have been made on the Thompson Ridge Fire (containment 50%), with crews being released from that incident as well, though the growth potential is still considered to be high.

The bad news is that there's a new conflagration, the Jaroso Fire, burning in the Pecos Wilderness now. Let's hope they get a grip on that one tout-de-suite.

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June 19 - Now that the Tres Lagunas and Thompson Ridge fires are at 90% containment, they are entering the "Post-Fire Response" phase of management. See http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3430/ for information on that process.

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June 22 - SFNF/VCNP Closure

Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve Closed

Release Date: Jun 21, 2013  

Contact(s): LAWRENCE M. LUJAN, U.S. Forest Service, (505) 438-5321, TERRY MCDERMOTT, Valles Caldera Trust, (505) 428-7714

The entire Santa Fe National Forest will be closed to public entry effective Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8 a.m. The only exception to the closure is the Rio Chama Scenic River corridor which will remain open to the public, with Stage II fire restrictions. The accessible area along the Rio Chama includes 100-feet from both sides of the river starting at the north end of the river at the Coyote and Cuba Ranger District Boundary downstream to the southeastern boundary near Forest Service Road 151.

“The weather forecast is calling for dry, hot and windy conditions in the coming days and with the current fires and new fires reported daily, we cannot afford to take the added risk of human-caused wildfires,” said Forest Supervisor Maria Garcia. Some areas have reported rainfall but it has been isolated and not enough to lessen the probability of wildfires spreading quickly. “These safety measures (restrictions and closures) are primarily meant to protect the public and also to protect the natural and cultural resources people enjoy and which sustain their way of life,” added Garcia, “The closure will be lifted once we receive significant rainfall to abate wildfire risk.”

As per Closure Order 10-387, the entire Santa Fe National Forest is closed to all access except for the Rio Chama Scenic River corridor; exceptions to this closure order include:

  1. Persons with a Forest Service letter or permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
  2. Any Federal, State, or Local Officer, or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  3. Residents in the area accessing private property via a restricted Forest Service road.

Valles Caldera National Preserve main entrance is open from 8 am to 6 pm. The public can drive to the Valle Grande Staging Area where they can visit the gift shop or view elk and other wildlife in the area; visit the website: http://www.vallescaldera.gov/.

Carson National Forest will remain in Stage I Restrictions and continue with the closure of Pecos Wilderness managed by the Carson National Forest and the trails which access the Pecos Wilderness. These include: the San Leonardo Trail #30, Trampas Trail #31, Santa Barbara Trail #24, Serpent Lake/Alamitos Trail #19 and Ripley Point Trail #36; visit the website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/carson.

Bandelier National Monument is open to visitors. Fire restrictions are in effect; visit the website: http://www.nps.gov/band/.

New Mexico Game and Fish recreation sites along the Pecos River, Bert Clancy, Tererro, Jamie Koch and Mora camping and fishing areas are also closed. Monastery Lake along the Pecos River, Highway 63 is also closed; visit the website:http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/recreation/fishing/documents/fishing_report.htm.

New Mexico State Parks— Fenton Lake State Park near Jemez Springs, and Morphy Lake State Park near Mora are both closed. Hyde Memorial State Park will close at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 24th, however The Lodge at Hyde Memorial State Park will remain open for all scheduled activities and preexisting reservations. These parks will remain closed for the duration of the Santa Fe National Forest closure. Many NM State Parks remain open with fire restrictions; visit the website: http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/FireRestrictions.html.

People who have trips planned to the area should continue with their plans and visit some of the villages and communities that are rich in culture and friendly people. Local business owners in these communities are known for their great hospitality and keep their businesses open to serve visitors and to share their knowledge of the area and love for the land.

Forest Service Law Enforcement and other personnel will be patrolling forest roads and trails. We ask that people be extremely cautious outdoors at this time, be aware of your surroundings and report all illegal activity to proper law enforcement authorities. “Know Before You Go”—look for the latest information on restrictions and closures of public land by calling your local ranger station or park or via Fire Restrictions website Fire Restrictions: http://firerestrictions.us/nm/, Fire Restrictions Hotline: 1-877-864-6985 or call Santa Fe National Forest, 505-438-5300.

As always, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on National Forests System lands.

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ORDER

USDA FOREST SERVICE

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST/VALLES CALDERA NATIONAL PRESERVE

FOREST AND PRESERVE CLOSURE

Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a), the following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System lands within the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve as described below in the following counties: Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, San Miguel, and Mora, within the state of New Mexico. The "restricted area" is described below and depicted on the attached map, hereby incorporated into this Order as Exhibit A.

PROHIBITIONS

1. Going into or being upon the restricted area. 36 CFR § 261.52(e)

EXEMPTIONS

Pursuant to 36 CFR § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from thi s order:

1. Persons with a Forest Service letter or permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.

2. Any Federal, State, or Local Officer, or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

3. Residents in the area accessing private property via a restricted Forest Service road to the extent necessary to gain access to their property.

RESTRICTED AREA

The restricted area includes all National Forest System lands, roads and trails within the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve within the following counties: Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, San Miguel, and Mora, within the state of New Mexico (Exhibit A) except for:

• National Forest System Lands 100-feet from both sides of the Rio Chama Scenic Ri ver starting at the north end of the river at the Forest Boundary downstream to Christ of the Desert Monastery; between Forest Road 151 and the River downstream to Big Eddy; and from there Forest Road 151 only to Santa Fe National Forest Boundary.

• Valles Caldera Valle Grande Staging Area.

PURPOSE

This order is necessary to protect public health and safety due to extreme fire danger.

IMPLEMENTATION

1. This Order will be in effect at 8:00a.m. on Monday, June 24, 2013, and shall remain in effect until December 31, 2013, or until rescinded, whichever event occurs first.

2. Violations of these regulations is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or both; 16 USC § 551, and 18 USC §§ 3559 and 3571.

3. This Order supersedes, rescinds, and revokes Order numbers 10-383, 10-385 and is in addition to Regional Closure Order R03-001.

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June 27 - The Jaroso Fire has been dumping a lot of smoke on us down here at the bottom of the Sangres for the fast few days. This fire has grown from 3,000 acres to more than 10,000, and is threatening to run south into areas of the Upper Pecos Canyon that were protected from the recent Tres Lagunas Fire. As this fire is in the Pecos Wilderness, where no motorized vehicles are permitted, all firefighting efforts must be conducted by helicopter and air tanker or by smokejumper crews dropped in from the air. Due to heavy timber fall from a wind event in that area six years ago, conditions are such that ground-based efforts are prohibitively hazardous, so air attack is the only option at this time. I think we will need some good rains to put an end to this conflagration.

The smoke from this fire has been combining with smoke from the massive Silver Fire in the Gila NF (92,000 acres as of today) coming up from the south, making for some pretty hazy days around here, with the odor of campfire permeating everything. Here's a recent press release from down south:

Due to continued fire activity on the Silver Fire and concerns for public safety, as of June 23rd, the entire Aldo Leopold Wilderness and adjacent forest lands to the south, southeast, and to the eastern boundary of the Forest including Forest Road 150 from the Mimbres Valley at N.M. 35 north to Forest Road 4069G located at Main Diamond Creek are closed to all public entry until further notice.

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July 1 - Nineteen firefighters, 18 of whom were part of the 20-member Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew out of Prescott, Arizona, which had recently returned home after fighting the Silver Fire here in NM, lost their lives yesterday while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire northwest of Phoenix.

This is the worst kind of news that any firefighter can hear. Please remember these brave men, their families, and their friends, in your prayers.

How you can help… consider a donation to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

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July 2 - The Thompson Ridge Fire was listed as 100% contained yesterday.

The Jaroso Fire continues to present logistical difficulties, though recent rains have helped the situation. They do have ground crews in place now so progress is being made. Be safe, guys.

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July 11 - This just in from my county fire marshal:

[Note: Links to attached documention are at the bottom of this page.]

   --  For Immediate Release   --  

Effective tomorrow, July 12 at 8AM the Santa Fe National Forest will lift the forest closure and move into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions.  There will be some areas that will remain closed due to impacts from wildfires and potential flooding.  Please reference the attached closure orders and maps for detailed information.  Please help us spread the word. Thank you.

–Denise Ottaviano, Acting PAO, SFNF

 FYI:  Fenton Lake and Monastery Lake will reopen as well.  NM Game and Fish properties along the Pecos River will remain closed.

For information about the restrictions and closures call: (505) 438-5300

AREAS OF THE SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST TO REOPEN

SANTA FE, NM—JULY 11, 2013--The Santa Fe National Forest will reopen portions of the forest beginning Friday, July 12th at 8:00 a.m.  The Forest will lift the full closure and move into Stage I fire restrictions.  However, some areas of the Forest will remain closed due to impacts by wildfires or potential for flooding.  “Areas of the forest affected by the Tres Lagunas, Thompson Ridge, and Jaroso fires will remain closed for public safety,” announced Deputy Forest Supervisor Joe Norrell.  Concern remains over possible flash flooding in many areas downslope from burned areas which requires additional recreation site (seasonal) closures during the monsoon season. Please reference the attached closure orders and corresponding maps which provide detailed information about what is open and closed on the Santa Fe National Forest.

“Monsoonal moisture has minimized the risk of wildfire, although it has not totally eliminated it,” added Norrell, “We will maintain Stage I fire restrictions in all reopened areas. That means campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds.”

 Portions of the Pecos Wilderness outside the Jaroso Fire closure will be open including the portion previously closed by the Carson National Forest—see attached map.  There are many trails that you can enjoy within the Wilderness and other areas of the forest that are not within the fire area.  However, we can’t stress enough the need for personal responsibility and safety when in the forest.  You must be fully aware of where you are, the weather conditions, and what areas are closed because of the fires and potential downslope flooding. 

The following areas will be closed year-round due to impacts from the Jaroso Fire:

The boundary of the Jaroso Fire Closure area within the Pecos Wilderness is made up of following segments of trails that will be closed:

Cave Creek Trail 288 from the junction of the Dockweiler Trail 259 to the junction of Skyline Trail 251

Skyline Trail 251 to Horsethief Meadow Trail 253

Horsethief Meadow Trail 253 to Panchuela West Trail 243

Panchuela West Trail 243 to the Capulin Trail 158

Capulin Trail 158 to the Cienego Redondo Trail 6

Cienego RedondoTrail 6 to junction of Agua Sarca Trail 228

Agua Sarca Trail 228 to the Rio Molino Trail 227

Rio Molino Trail  227 to the Rio Medio

The Rio Medio is the boundary from the junction of Trail 227 to the junction of Trail 157

Rio Medio Trail 157 to Trail 251 on Trail Rider’s Wall

Trail 251 south to the junction of Jack’s Creek Trail 257

Jack’s Creek Trail 257 to the Sebadillosos Trail 245

Sebadillosos Trail 245 to its junction with the Dockweiler Trail 259

Dockweiler Trail 259 to the junction of Beatty’s Trail 25

Beatty’s Trail 25 to the junction of Jack’s Creek Trail 257 south of Round Mountain

Jack’s Creek Trail 257 north to the junction of Dockweiler Trail 259

Dockweiler Trail 259 south back to the junction of the Cave Creek Trail 288

 

Additional trails that lead into the Jaroso fire area are also closed:

Trail 157 from Rio Molino Trailhead to Rio Medio River

Trail 155 from the Rio Medio Trailhead to the Rio Medio River

Frijoles Trail 154 from the Santa Fe National Forest boundary to the junction of Capulin Trail 158

Cave Creek Trail 288 from the Trailhead at Panchuela Campground to the junction of

Dockweiler Trail 259


The following campgrounds will be closed from June 30, 2013, to September 30, 2013 due to potential flood impacts from the Jaroso Fire and the closure of NM Highway 63:

Panchuela, Jack’s Creek, Cowles, and Iron Gate


Tres Lagunas Fire Closure

Please reference the attached Tres Lagunas Fire Closure Order and Map for detailed information about the boundaries of the fire closure area.  The following areas within the closed area will remain open year-round:

Forest Service Road 646 (“Davis-Willow Road”):  no off-road driving (prism only).

Davis-Willow campground:  you are restricted to the actual campground area (prism only).


The following areas will be closed from June 30, 2013, to September 30, 2013  due to potential flood impacts from the Tres Lagunas Fire:

Holy Ghost Canyon, Lower and Upper Dalton day-use areas, Field Tract, Windy Bridge and Forest Service lands within 100 feet of the water’s edge of the Pecos River.  New Mexico State Highway 63 in the Pecos Canyon will remain closed at mile marker 15.

 

The following areas will be closed from June 30, 2013, to September 30, 2013 due to potential flood impacts from the Thompson Ridge Fire:

The only closure as a result of the Thompson Ridge fire will be a seasonal closure of recreational areas within the Jemez Ranger District which may be flooded by runoff originating from the Thompson Ridge Fire burn scar.

East Fork River Corridor – Beginning at the southern boundary of the Valles Caldera and ending at the confluence with the San Antonio River at Battleship Rock, the corridor is defined as being one quarter mile from the ordinary high water mark on each bank of the East Fork Jemez River.

East Fork Trail, Forest Trail 137 beginning at Las Conchas Trailhead and ending at the Battleship Rock Trailhead parking area

Forest Trail 121 (beginning at NM Highway 4 and ending at the East Fork Jemez River)

Las Conchas Picnic and Fishing Area

Las Conchas Trailhead

East Fork Trailhead

Jemez Falls Trailhead

Battleship Rock Trailhead Parking Area

 La Cueva Picnic Area

Spence Hot Spring Parking Area and Forest Trail 130

 Valles Caldera National Preserve Open Areas:

The Valles Caldera National Preserve will resume some fishing, hiking and van tours Friday, July 12 at 8:00 a.m. All visitors must check in at the Valle Grande Staging Area accessible through the main entrance on NM Highway 4. For more information on available activities and programs at the Valles Caldera call 866-382-5537 or go to www.vallescaldera.gov

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Wow, now that the forest is reopening and there's been some rain, I can finally go look for some mushrooms!!! I sincerely hope that this will be the last entry in my 2013 fire season report. I will now return to the much more pleasant task of documenting my 2013 mushroom season in the Photo Galleries section. Hope to see you there :)

Ilfeld C2 clear, KNFW972.

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