Strong Winds Challenge Firefighters On Hermits Peak Fire

Hermits Peak Fire Update:

The Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 4 assumed command of the Hermits Peak Fire Monday, April 11, and quickly engaged the fire with full suppression tactics.

Unfavorable weather and wind conditions in steep terrain are challenging firefighters’ ability to directly attack the fire both on the ground and from the air. Additional firefighters, engines, equipment, and crews have been ordered to bolster the resources supporting the full suppression strategy.

A live virtual community meeting was held Monday night to provide an update on the latest fire activity and address questions from the public. A full recording of the meeting is now available at https://facebook.com/santafeNF/.

Latest Details:

  • Strong Winds Challenge Firefighters On Hermits Peak Fire
  • Start Date: April 6, 2022
  • Acres: 1,908 acres
  • Cause: Multiple spot fires spread beyond the prescribed fire project boundary
  • Fuels: Mixed conifer
  • Location: Approx. 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM, Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District, Hermits Peak/Pecos Wilderness
  • Containment: 10 percent
  • Total personnel: 244

Operations: Fire activity has increased significantly with gusty and erratic wind conditions grounding aircraft early on Monday and likely throughout much of today. Firefighters are evaluating risks to surrounding communities and focusing on defending these structures if the fire advances further in their direction. Yesterday, firefighters worked late into the night to reinforce control lines along Forest Road 637 on the northeastern side of the fire. Firefighters continue to improve containment along the southern perimeter moving east and north. Crews are working to identify multiple options ahead of the main fire, looking at existing roads and other natural features to limit fire spread on the eastern edge, in anticipation of south-southwest winds pushing the fire further to the east and north. As new resources arrive, the incident management team plans to assign over 100 firefighters to a full nightshift to provide 24/7 coverage over the fire area.

Evacuations: The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation for the communities of San Ignacio, Las Dispensas, Pendaries, Las Tusas, and Canoncito on Monday, April 11. An evacuation shelter is available at the old Memorial Middle School gym located at the corner of Legion and Old National in Las Vegas, NM.

Weather: A strong storm system will arrive today, bringing more clouds, cooler temperatures, chances for rain showers, and even stronger winds. Temperatures will be about 10 degrees cooler as clouds increase and scattered showers develop over the ridges west of the fire. Wind speeds are forecasted to exceed 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Critical fire weather conditions and a Red Flag Warning are in place today, mainly due to the excessive winds. As high winds continue throughout the week, Red Flag Warnings may continue through Wednesday and Thursday.

Restrictions: The Santa Fe National Forest has issued a closure order to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Hermits Peak Fire. The full closure order and map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/santafe/home. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the area, which includes unmanned aircraft, or drones. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found at: www.nifc.gov/drones

Smoke: Smoke from the Hermits Peak Fire may be visible from Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon, Pendaries, Rociada, Mora, Ledoux, Las Vegas, and along the I-25 corridor. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

Fire updates will be posted on Inciweb, the SFNF Facebook and TwitterSFNF website, and New Mexico Fire Information website.

Email: 2022.hermitspeak@firenet.gov •  Phone: 505.663.6334 • Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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