Monday Update: Drying Trend Poses Risk To Firefighting Effort On Valles Caldera National Preserve

VCNP News:

Although the much-needed rain aided the firefighting efforts on the Valles Caldera, it was short lived as a drying trend is predicted for the next week.

With an increase in temperature and lowering of humidity, roads and vegetation are drying, which may contribute to higher fire activity. The fire is still at 495 acres. The interior of the fire perimeter area is still burning and smoldering.

Sunday’s reconnaissance flight indicated multiple spot fires on the northwest perimeter of the fire. Firefighters will continue work today strengthening hand line on the steep and rocky southwestern perimeter of the fire. The Majority of firefighter’s efforts will be focused on construction of hand and dozer line on the northwest side of the fire.

Although containment of the fire is a high priority, the safety of 201 fire personnel is essential. Hazards include snags, fallen trees, steep and rugged terrain, and travel to and from the fire. 

Objectives: Firefighter and public safety; containment of the fire while protecting values at risk.

Restrictions: The Valle Grande entrance station and bookstore will remain open to the public, and ranger-led tours and hikes will be offered in the park’s cabin district. All other access and activities have been suspended. NM 4 is open to traffic.

Closures: A temporary flight restriction has been ordered, is in effect over the fire area, and remains in place until further notice. This restriction includes drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. Please remember that “If you fly, we can’t!” The public is reminded that Valles Caldera National Preserve and Santa Fe National Forest is still under Stage 3 Closure due to extreme fire danger, no public access is allowed.

Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn may be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. Smoke is expected to linger in neighboring communities including Los Alamos, La Cueva, Sierra Los Pinos, Jemez Springs, Ponderosa, Jemez Pueblo and areas near NM 4. Communities surrounding the Jemez Mountains may also see smoke.

Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1.888.878.8992 or visiting https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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