Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Information office hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Telephone: 505-312-4593 and 303-918-4004 Email: 2022.CerroPelado@firenet.gov
Public Meeting Tuesday, 5/10 at 5:30 pm: City Hall/Post Office at Cochiti Lake at 6515 Hoochaneetsa Blvd. in Cochiti Lake, NM 87083. This meeting will be outdoors and in-person participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Acreage: 42,491 acres Containment: eleven%
Personnel and Equipment: 871 total staff; 41 engines, 9 Type 1 manual crews, 11 Type 2 manual crews, 5 Type 2 initial attack crews, 9 helicopters, 2 scooper planes, 10 bulldozers, 1 chewer, 2 ambulances, 1 rapid medical extraction unit, and 15 water canisters . 2 Air National Guard helicopters are on standby.
Yesterday: Due to the Red Flag Watch, which brought west/southwest winds in excess of 40 mph, the east side of the fire was the main focus of operations. Firefighters continued to use hoses and hand lines on the northeast and east perimeters. Air assets operated until grounded due to unsafe wind conditions. Operations focused on suppressing fire pockets east of Forest Road (FR) 289 to connect and flank the fire. Work continued along the fire perimeter on Highway 4 to the north, FR 266 to the west, and FR 270 to the south. The fire moved slowly south toward the containment lines through scarce fuels. Chewers continued to shred vegetation along Highway 4. The north side of the fire continued to slowly recede toward Highway 4. Structure protection was resumed at Lake Cochiti, Bandelier National Monument, and Valles Caldera National Reserve.
Today: A red flag weather warning is in effect today, due to sustained winds and dry conditions. Strong winds and low relative humidity are expected to contribute to potential fire growth. The northeast portion of the fire has slowed due to green spring vegetation on the mesas, which contains more moisture and is less efficient fire fuel. Fuel has become scarce as the fire moves northeast through the Las Conchas fire footprint. Although no drastic movement has occurred, the gusts of wind will carry embers and can ignite pockets of fire. Teams will verify and delete all points as they are discovered. Air operations will begin as soon as conditions allow, before strong afternoon winds create unsafe conditions. Crews will concentrate northeast fire operations around FR 287, using this roadway as the main containment line. Firefighters will also continue to establish and strengthen containment lines along the eastern perimeter of the fire, especially along Dome Lookout Road, where the fire will continue to recede and outflank. Rocky terrain has reduced the intensity of the southern portion of the fire, so crews will continue to monitor as it slowly moves toward Highway 267. Firefighters will strengthen containment lines along the western perimeter of the fire near Hondo Canyon. The northwest corner of the fire remains contained, but crews will continue to assess the area. The use of heavy equipment such as bulldozers and chewers will be resumed to reduce fuels and fuel viability. Aircrews will begin operating 24 hours a day, supported by drones at night.
Firefighters will coordinate with the National Park Service for the protection of structures in the Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera National Reserve. The structure protection group will continue to operate in all areas. Additionally, fire operations will coordinate with the Pueblo of Cochiti and its resources, and will continue to assess and provide protection to structures in the Lake Cochiti area.
Firefighters and line safety officers are using lookouts, communications, escape routes, and safety zones (LCES) to protect line personnel. Firefighters are getting out of extreme smoke conditions to help relieve fatigue. Wind events continue to create dead and green tree hazards, so active mitigation measures are needed during the incident to protect human life.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Single-digit relative humidity and high temperatures continue to contribute to the fire’s growth potential, especially on the east side of the fire. Sustained wind up to 20 mph will shift slightly to the southwest. Expect some gusts up to 40 mph on the ridges and up to 35 mph within the north/south aligned canyons of the eastern portion of the fire. Strong westerly winds may push the fire to the north and east, with low intensity fire activity in the Los Conchas Fire burn scar. The northern portion of the fire will continue to slowly recede toward containment lines along Highway 4.
Evacuations, Refuge Areas: Los Alamos County remains at the “Established” evacuation level. The communities of Cochiti Mesa and the Peralta Canyon area, including Cox Ranch, remain in a “Go” evacuation status. Evacuations for Sierra de Los Pinos and Valles Caldera National Reserve remain in “Established” mode, meaning residents should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Jemez Springs, La Cueva, and the Lake Cochiti area remain in “Ready” status. Counties will provide updated information on evacuations as needed.
Air quality: Winds will blow smoke and dust toward communities to the north and northeast of the fires, including the communities of Los Alamos, White Rock, and Santa Clara. General conditions are expected to remain GOOD to MODERATE. Santa Fe and Cochiti Pueblo could see brief periods of light smoke and haze. Air quality information is found at the New Mexico Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking, https://nmtracking.org/fire. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom in on your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
Closures: Highway 4 remains closed to all traffic from milepost 34 to milepost 50 (at the junction of Highway 4 and 501) due to fire activity. Fire crews and firefighters will be working along Highway 4 and accessing the fire, especially at the intersections with FR 10 and FR 280. Heavy traffic impedes firefighting efforts and jeopardizes the safety of residents. firemen. The most up-to-date road closure information can be found here: https://www.nmroads.com/mapIndex.html
The Santa Fe National Forest has issued a closure order for the Cerro Pelado fire area and a second closure order for the Cerro Pelado Fire Camp along FR 376. The purpose of both orders is to protect public health. and public safety due to extreme fire danger in the Restricted Area. Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Reserve remains closed due to fire activity until further notice.
fire restrictions: Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for the Santa Fe National Forest, which prohibits all campfires and other dangerous activities. Due to ongoing fire threats, Sandoval County will not be issuing burn permits.
Temporary Flight Restriction: A flight restriction is in place in the area over the fire (10 nautical miles southwest of Los Alamos, NOTAM 2/2366) to provide a safe environment for firefighting operations. Drones over fire are also prohibited because their presence can disrupt aerial resources and pose an additional fire hazard. More information: https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_2_6919.html.