Cerro Pelado Fire Daily Update Monday, May 16, 2022
Release Date: May 16, 2022
Current Size: 45,605 Acres
Current Containment: 62%
Start Date: April 22, 2022
Total personnel: 1,001
Community meeting at 5:30 this evening at Los Alamos High School Available virtually on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85125009104
WEATHER AND FIRE BEHAVIOR: Firefighters welcome clouds and higher relative humidity. As the cloud cover burns off in the late morning, temperatures will top out a few degrees lower than yesterday’s near record highs. Relative humidity values will drop back into the mid-teens and gusty winds from the southeast in the morning will switch to the southwest in the afternoon. These winds could be problematic in the northwestern corner of the fire, where isolated interior pockets of heat linger in heavier fuels in areas. There is a chance of dry thunderstorms in the afternoon to the east of the fire, which could cause unpredictable outflow winds.
Yesterday the fire stayed within containment lines, and there was very little growth where the is active. The fire activity is smoldering and creeping through ground fuels with occasional single tree torching far inside containment lines.
TODAY’S OPERATIONS: Yesterday, a fixed wing incursion over the fire caused air attack to order a complete shutdown of all air operations, significantly slowing the progress of fire suppression work being performed. Any use of aircraft is prohibited per Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR). As containment increases on the Cerro Pelado Fire, fire managers are reassigning heavy machinery, engines, and hotshot crews to other fires where they are needed more. Most containment lines around the fire are now directly on the fire edge, and without fuel to burn, fire activity is minimal. Firefighters are patrolling containment lines around the fire searching for wisps of smoke and hidden areas of smoldering heat.
Crews are working to secure areas where the fire is burning in steep terrain near the communications towers on Los Griegos Mountain in the northwest corner of the fire. Pockets of interior fire activity remain a threat in the Paralta Ridge, Cerro Pelado Mountain, and Paliza Canyon areas. Helicopters and the two scooper planes will continue to support crews on the ground, providing eyes in the sky and shuttling loads of water to cool hot spots and reinforce containment lines. Crews are using direct suppression tactics where they can safely work next to the fire. Today, crews work on containment lines on Forest Road (FR) 271a, using heavy equipment and hand crews. This area’s threat is fire weakened hazard trees, which experienced saw teams must remove before crews can engage the fire safely. Engine crews will patrol burned areas near structures off FR 280 using water to extinguish any pockets of heat that they find. Saw teams and heavy equipment crews continue to clear hazard trees, perform fuels reduction, and chip up large brush piles along Highway 4. Highway 4 remains closed from mile marker 34 to 61 to prove a safe operational environment for equipment.
Hotshot crews on foot are patrolling the remote fire edge in the Cochiti Mesa area where the fire appears to be hung up in difficult to access rocky terrain with sparse fuels, though it hasn’t moved or shown much smoke in several days. Hand crews are also hiking into the remote fire edge on the south side of the fire, patrolling direct handlines and extinguishing areas of interior heat in lower Peralta Canyon, north of Cochiti Pueblo. Crews on FR 266 are working further inward from the fire edge using hand tools and water to mop up areas in the Hondo Canyon Area.
The Great Basin IMT 1 continues to communicate with tribal representatives, community leaders, private cooperators, and Los Alamos National Laboratory staff to coordinate firefighting resources, protect structures, and keep community members safe.
Air Quality: Information on air quality is at New Mexico Department of Health Environmental Public Health Tracking: https://nmtracking.org/fire , and an interactive smoke map is available at https://fire.airnow.gov/.
Fire Restrictions Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for the Santa Fe National Forest, which prohibits all campfires and other hazardous activities. Due to ongoing fire threats, Sandoval County will not issue burn permits. Stage III Fire Restrictions are in effect for Cochiti Pueblo.
Information Phone Lines: 505-312-4593 & 303-918-4004