Update: Monsoonal Rains Slow Venado Fire

SFNF News:

Friday’s monsoonal weather pattern helped firefighters keep the Venado Fire in check in the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest. The fire has burned 2,970 acres and is now 15 percent contained.

Venado Fire:

  • Start Date: July 20, 2018
  • Acres: 2,970
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest
  • Containment: 15 percent
  • Fuels: Ponderosa pine
  • Total personnel: 282

General Information: As Friday’s monsoonal weather pattern helped firefighters keep the Venado Fire in check with minimal activity, firefighters continue with a full suppression strategy. A Burned Area Emergency Response team will assess damage today in areas hit by high-severity fire, including Forest Roads 376 and 488 and the potential for debris flow in affected watersheds. The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) yesterday issued a temporary closure order for the Venado Fire area to help protect public and firefighter health and safety, and so firefighters can operate safely.

Fire Operations: Crews held the eastern boundary of the Venado Fire as they continued to prep Forest Road 488 to facilitate a direct approach to the western flank. The last infrared survey showed little heat on the southern edge of the fire. On the northern boundary, the Venado Fire reached the Joaquin unit, a previously thinned area of about 1,500 acres where fuels are piled as part of a forest restoration project. Yesterday’s rain gave firefighters the opportunity to reduce fuels on the ground by proactively lighting piles in the Joaquin unit in an effort to contain fire spread to the north.

Values: The Southwest Area Incident Management Team 4 and the Santa Fe National Forest are working closely with the Pueblo of Jemez to protect multiple archaeological and cultural sites in proximity to the Venado Fire. Fire managers are also minimizing the impacts in designated critical habitat for the Mexican spotted owl and the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Although the fire reached a portion of the owl habitat, suppression efforts kept the fire from impacting the jumping mouse habitat.

Fire Weather: Good moisture in place across the area will lead to another round of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms again today. Frequent lightning, gusty winds and flash flooding from heavy rainfall will continue to be the primary hazards. Warmer and drier conditions are expected over the weekend, with only isolated showers and thunderstorms in the area. Daytime humidity is forecast to drop below 30% both days.

Closures: The SFNF yesterday issued a formal closure order for the Venado Fire area, including Forest Roads 376 and 588 in their entirety. The closure order, including a map of the restricted area, is posted at on the SFNF website under Alerts and Notices.

Smoke Situation: Smoke from the Venado fire will be visible throughout the day along NM Route 4 near the Jemez Pueblo and U.S. Route 550 north of the Santa Ana Pueblo. Large, intermittent smoke plumes may be visible especially as slash piles are burned. Smoke may also be visible along the I-25 corridor near Santa Fe. Smoke impacts will be minimal in communities to the south and east of the fire on Friday due to predicted afternoon showers and higher humidity levels. Warmer and drier conditions on Saturday could lead to heavier smoke emissions with smoke settling in canyons and valleys late Saturday evening and into early Sunday morning and may impact Canon, Jemez Pueblo, and San Ysidro. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease should be prepared to exercise precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website https://nmtracking.org/fire or by calling 1-888-878-8992. For information on the HEPA filter loan program: https://www.santafefireshed.org/hepa-filter-loan-program/.

Fire Information Links: Fire information can be found at nmfireinfo.com and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5996/.

For information on the Santa Fe National Forest, please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe.


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