Map of the Santa Fe National Forest Ranger Districts. Courtesy/SFNF
A fire broke out Monday in the Cuba Ranger District on the Santa Fe National Forest approximately 2 miles southeast of Regina off N.M. 96.
- Start date: July 1
- Cause: Lightning
- Size: 5 acres
- Containment: 0%
- Fuel: Ponderosa pine
- Weather: Sunny with temperatures between 83-87 degrees, winds from the west at 5-9 miles per hour and 10-14% humidity
- Resources assigned: 15 personnel with one Type 6 engine, two UTVs and 2 ATVs
Situation: Fire behavior is low to moderate with flame lengths between 6 inches to 1 foot. Fire managers are looking at the Naranjo Fire as a potential opportunity to improve forest health and reduce surface fuels.
Naturally occurring fires like the Naranjo Fire that burn with lower intensity under favorable conditions help reintroduce fire to fire-dependent forest ecosystems.
Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years on average as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth.
Managing a lightning-caused ignition like the Naranjo Fire mimics that natural process and helps reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire by reducing fine fuels and debris on the forest floor.
Firefighters are scouting for containment lines, and crews will monitor the fire over the 4th of July weekend. Firefighter and public safety are always the first priority on all fire incidents.
Smoke will likely be visible from US Highway 550, NM Highway 96, and the communities of Cuba, Regina and La Jara.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505.827.0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to .
Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com, www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the prescribed burn, contact the Cuba Ranger District at 575.289.3264.