New Mexico Wildfire Update for June 2:
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, NM, between Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarron
Cause of Fire: Under investigation
Area Vegetation: Grass, pinyon juniper and ponderosa pine
Acres: ~27,290 acres (based on infrared flight)
Percent Containment: 0%
Jurisdiction: NM State
Resources: ~447 personnel including 10 crews, 8 helicopters, 24 engines, 8 dozers, 2 water tenders
The plan is to go direct as possible to limit fire spread, but safety is our #1 priority. Given the dynamic situation, firefighters are focused on protecting values at risk and limiting the fire’s spread where they can do so safely and effectively. Values include firefighter and public safety, critical municipal watersheds, structures, and air quality.
Last night firefighters took advantage of favorable conditions to conduct a strategic burnout between State Road 204 and Highway 64 to help protect structures in the Cimarron area.
Winds will increase and shift to coming from the northeast, east and southeast throughout the day. Active fire behavior including crowning (burning through the tree tops), with wind driven runs and long-range spotting is expected.
There are increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms Sunday and Sunday night. There could even be a severe storm with large hail, high winds along with heavy rain late Sunday into Sunday night. Flash flooding is a concern. Precipitation may help limit fire activity in the short term, but critical fire weather conditions are expected to return.
Firefighters are working to establish an anchor point (an advantageous location, usually a barrier to fire spread, from which to start constructing a fireline) in the Ute Park and Cimarron areas. On the north side of the fire, a hotshot crew will be scouting containment and protection opportunities in the Gobble Gulch area. On the east side of the fire, two hotshot crews, engines and water tenders will be implementing structure defense in the Cimarron community as needed where they can do so safely. On the south side of the fire three hotshot crews and engines are assessing and implementing structure defense in the Webster Lake and Philmont Scout Camp area.
Structures damage assessments are ongoing. Approximately 12-14 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. There are no scouts currently at the camp. Ute Park is now under advisory evacuations. Sign Up for Colfax County’s Emergency Alerts at https://bit.ly/2LbNdXh.
The New Mexico Chapter of the American Red is supporting the City of Raton’s shelter at the Raton Convention Center, 901S. 3rd Street, Raton, NM. The Red Cross also continues to have a shelter open at the Eagle Nest Senior Center at 74 N. Tomboy Dr., Eagle Nest, 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/ for 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. https://nmfireinfo.com/fire
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