Ute Park in Colfax County has been evacuated due to increased fire activity south of the community and crews are preparing for storms expected in the area today.
Ute Park Fire, Colfax County
Start Date and Time: May 31, 2018 at 2:10 p.m.
Start Location: Near Highway 64 in Ute Park between Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarron
Cause of Fire: Under investigation
Area Vegetation: Grass, Pinyon Juniper and Mixed Conifer
Acres Burned: 30,000
Structures Threatened: Yes / approximately 296
Structures Burned: 14 outbuildings
Evacuations: Cimarron and Ute Park
Containment: 0 percent
Closures: Highway 64 between Cimarron and Eagle Nest, US 64 from I-25 to Colfax, Highway 21 from Springer to Cimarron, and State Route 58 from I-25 to Cimarron.
Resources: 511 personnel including 10 crews, 6 helicopters, 32 engines, 8 dozers, 7 water tenders
An Increase in fire activity and growth on the west side of the fire prompted the Colfax Emergency Manager and Colfax Sheriff’s Office to issue a mandatory evacuation for Ute Park this evening. Afternoon winds from the southeast caused the fire to grow to the west, south of Ute Park. Winds are forecasted to come from the south this evening which would threaten to align the fire to advance into Ute Park. Firefighters will be in the community overnight providing point protection around structures and conducting burnout operations to protect the community.
Saturday the winds shifted in the afternoon and came out of the southeast which slowed the fire growth on the east side of the fire. Crews were able to continue to conduct burnout operations along the east and southeast side of the fire. The lines held well today and this evening crews will continue to strengthen the lines by extinguishing hot spots along its edge and patrolling the line.
There are increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms Sunday and Sunday night. Forecasts are calling for a severe storm with large hail, high winds, heavy rain, and lightning Sunday starting at noon into Sunday evening. Flash flooding is a concern. While the increase in moisture has the potential to decrease the fire activity, outflow winds associated with thunderstorms can overcome the moisture with increased winds around the fire. Lightning also increases the risk of new fires.
Structures damage assessments completed. Fourteen outbuildings have burned on the Philmont Scout Ranch. Approximately 296 structures are threatened in the community of Cimarron, which remains under a mandatory evacuation order. Philmont Scout Ranch staff have also evacuated to the Colfax Fairgrounds in Springer. There are no scouts currently at the camp. Sign Up for Colfax County’s Emergency Alerts at https://bit.ly/2LbNdXh.
The Red Cross continues to have a shelter open at the Eagle Nest Senior Center at 74 N. Tomboy Dr., Eagle Nest, NM. The New Mexico Chapter of the American Red is also supporting the City of Raton’s shelter at the Raton Convention Center, 901S. 3rd Street, Raton, NM. Evacuees are welcome at either shelter.
Highway 64 between Eagle Nest and the junction with State Route 55, Highway 21 from Springer to Cimarron, and State Route 58 from I-25 to Cimarron are closed. Call 511 or visit http://nmroads.com/ or current road info. Cimarron State Park is closed. Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open, but the lake is closed for helicopters fighting the fire.
Use the 5-3-1 visibility method to protect your health from smoke. Learn how at https://nmfireinfo.com/fire
Air Monitoring Resources are available online at https://bit.ly/2tm1VG6 and https://bit.ly/2sqcLJ4.
Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. More info visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Ute Park Fire Info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5820/ (air quality info, maps, etc.) & http://nmfireinfo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ute-Park-Fire-Info-378765475953098/ Twitter: @uteparkfireinfo
Public Line: 505.309.0751