Lightning sparked the Venado Fire that began Friday in the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, which has now consumed some 2,000 acres of Ponderosa Pine.
Start Date: July 20
Size: approximately 2,000 acres
Location: Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest
Containment: 0 percent
Fuel: Ponderosa Pine
Weather: Scattered showers and thunderstorms overnight expect to bring lightning, heavy rain and gusty winds.
Resources on scene: 162 personnel, which includes four interagency hotshot crews, one type 3 helicopter, three engines, one dozer and a rapid extraction module. A Type 2 incident command team will take command of the Venado Fire Tuesday afternoon.
Situation: The fire is in steep terrain with limited access on Mesa Venado and an adjacent drainage area 1.5 miles north of Deer Creek Landing and 6.5 miles west of Jemez Springs. The strategy for the Venado Fire is full suppression. Fire behavior today was extreme with crowning, torching and spotting. High temperatures and strong winds were primarily responsible for the fire’s growth today.
Roads in the Venado Fire area will be closed to support fire operations as crews continue to prepare Forest Road (FR) 376 for burnout operations and scout areas west and southwest of the fire to identify the best contingency lines. Firefighters established a firm eastern boundary along FR 376, and western boundary with Skyline Road. The southern boundary is a burn scar area from the July 2017 Peggy Fire. Fire managers are concerned about holding the northern boundary because of its proximity to a previously thinned unit where fuels are piled.
Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority. Values at risk are numerous archaeological and cultural heritage sites, Jemez Pueblo Trust lands, and critical habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse and the Mexican spotted owl.
Closures: FR 376 is closed from Gilman Tunnels to Porter Landing. Campers and day trip visitors in the vicinity were notified by USDA Forest Service law enforcement to leave the area.
Smoke/Air Quality: Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the Venado Fire will be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. Smoke is expected to linger in neighboring communities including Gilman, Jemez Pueblo and areas near N.M. 4. Smoke may be visible from I-25, Jemez Springs, Santa Fe and Bernalillo.
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/.