Smoke from the Hidden Valley Fire spreads in layers Sunday through the forest and hills on the west side of the Valle Grande at twilight. © 2018 David A. Ponton, wildearthlight.com
JEMEZ SPRINGS – Firefighters completed firing operations Sunday on the lightning-caused Hidden Valley Fire. Through the successful management of this naturally caused fire, the preserve was able to safely decrease fuel loads on 585 acres of forest on South Mountain and reduce the risk of undesired fire behavior in the future.
“We’re grateful for all the firefighters’ hard work, which directly contributes to our goal of increasing ecological health and resiliency of the preserve’s forests,” Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said.
Fire crews will now focus efforts on monitoring and patrolling containment lines around the fire until the area receives significant precipitation. Smoke from smoldering vegetation within the fire perimeter is expected to decrease in the following days, but may still be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains.
The lightning-caused Venado Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest continues to produce a significant amount of smoke in the area and NPS officials are sharing resources with managers on the Venado Fire to minimize impacts to the public.
Individuals’ sensitive to smoke and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website https://nmtracking.org/fire or by calling 1.888.878-899.
For the duration of the Hidden Valley Fire, the South Mountain and Hidden Valley areas of the preserve will be closed to the public.