Wednesday Update: Firefighters Hurt At Valles Caldera

Scene Friday at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

VCNP News:

Two firefighters were injured by a falling tree while working on the San Antonio Fire Tuesday afternoon on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Fire personnel responded quickly to the incident, and patients were airlifted to an area hospital.

The firefighters’ injuries were evaluated and treated by medical staff at the hospital. Both firefighters were released from the hospital following treatment early this morning.

“This incident again emphasizes that firefighting is a dangerous profession,” VCNP Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said. “Our firefighters’ and the public’s safety is always our first priority.”

The southeast side of the fire perimeter is in very rough and steep terrain with dense forests, increasing the potential for falling trees especially in high winds. Crews are working as safely as they can to complete the containment line.

Helicopter water drops have been aiding the efforts to reduce growth of hot spots located within the fire area. Weather forecasts for today predict low humidity and northwest winds 8-12 mph with gusts up to 18 mph in the afternoon.

Objectives: Firefighter and public safety; containment of the fire while protecting values at risk.

Restrictions: The Valle Grande entrance station and bookstore will remain open to the public, and ranger-led tours and hikes will be offered in the park’s cabin district. All other access and activities have been suspended. NM 4 is open to traffic.

Closures: A temporary flight restriction has been ordered, is in effect over the fire area, and remains in place until further notice. This restriction includes drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. Please remember that “If you fly, we can’t!”

The public is reminded that Valles Caldera National Preserve and Santa Fe National Forest is still under Stage 3 Closure due to extreme fire danger, no public access is allowed.

Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1.888.878.8992 or visiting https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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