Smoke plume from the fire currently burning in the Los Pinos area of the Jemez Mountains. Courtesy photo
The smokey conditions in Los Alamos today are caused by the Cajete Fire, currently burning in the Los Pinos area of the Jemez Mountains. The fire is near Mile Marker 33 on NM 4. The Forest Service and Sandoval County Emergency Management are currently fighting the fire.
According the U.S. Forest Service, smoke was first reported to Santa Fe Dispatch at 10:47 a.m. today. An stimated at 100 acres and spreading and moving to the east. The cause of this fire is unknown at this time.
As of 1 p.m. today, multiple resources are responding to the Cajete Fire, including six engines, one Type 1 helicopter, three air tankers, a lead plane and initial attack with multiple crews on the ground. AType 3 team will arrive on scene at 6 p.m In addition, three Type 1 and 2 Type 2-Initial Attack teams have been ordered and will arrive tonight and tomorrow.
NM State Police have closed NM Highway 4 at the intersection of NM Highway 501 on the west side and at mile marker 33 on the east side. Evacuations of several small communities have begun, including Ruby Hole, Los Griegos and Sierra de Los Pinos. Additional evacuations may be necessary, depending on the fire’s behavior.
Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland reports that the Los Alamos Fire Dept. has committed resources to help defend endangered structures, but has not so far been involved in fighting the fire. Los Alamos and the town of Jemez Springs are not currently threatened, however conditions are very dry. Wetteland encouraged residents to be cautious. A brush fire occured in Los Alamos Wednesday night, but it was quickly extinquished, Wetteland said.
“People are being urged to evacuate in the Los Pinos area,” Wetteland said. “Right now we need to focus on being good neighbors and reaching out to people who may be displaced by the fire.”
This story will be updated as events unfold.