Rain aides firefighters in keeping blaze at 495 acres overnight on the Valles Caldera. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
Saturday’s rain aided firefighting efforts and kept the San Antonio Fire at 495 acres on the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
The lightning-caused fire is burning within the northwest area of the Preserve. Fire activity was moderate with spots of creeping flames and smoldering timber. The historic cabin within the fire perimeter and the weather station and natural gas pipeline near the fire remain intact and unaffected by the fire.
The Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Type 3 Team spent the day planning a course of action to tackle the areas of the fire that are in steep, rough terrain and accessible only by foot. While greatly needed, the rains have made the roads to the fire slick and muddy. A reconnaissance flight is scheduled for this afternoon and will provide a more accurate fire perimeter update. The safety of more than 200 fire personnel is the top priority.
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.
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 State Route 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.