The Thompson Ridge Fire at the Valles Caldera. Photo by Kristen Honig/Valles Caldera Trust
Thompson Ridge Fire
Acres: 23,946; Start date: May 31, 2013; Cause: Downed powerline; Location: Valles Caldera National Preserve; Containment: 60 percent; Fuels: Mixed conifer and Ponderosa pine; Terrain: Steep, rugged; Resources: 16 crews, 42 engines, 33 water tenders, 5 dozers; Total personnel: 885 and Available air support: 3 air tankers, 6 helicopters.
Firefighters took advantage of favorable conditions to conduct burnout operations along the containment line on the southwest flank of the fire along Valles Caldera Road 02 (VC02.) Aerial ignitions were initiated around 3:30 p.m. Crews then worked throughout the night to complete the burnout operation and bring the fire down to the containment line at VC02. Around 11 p.m. winds shifted 180 degrees due to the collapse of thunderstorms to the east of the fire. This resulted in some short range spotting and a small spot fire on the southeastern end of the burnout. The 150 acre spot fire was stopped by dozer lines and firefighters.
Fire behavior is expected to be moderate today with southwesterly winds pushing the fire back into the black and potential cloud cover in the afternoon. Patrol, mop up and extinguishing hot spots identified by infrared imagery will continue on the west, north and east sides of the fire. Crews will continue to hold and mop up along the southeastern edge of the fire.
Evacuation: Pre-evacuation of the Bennett Subdivision remains in effect.
Open and active: Communities in and around the Santa Fe National Forest remain open and accessible including Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument. Camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities are available in these areas.
Smoke: For more smoke information and air quality forecasts, visit the New Mexico Environment Department’s website at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb and https://nmtracking.org/fire.
All points of entry to the Valles Caldera National Preserve are closed to public access due to fire activity. The Fenton Lake State Park is also closed to the public.
For more information regarding the fire, visit www.inciweb.org.