Crews Conduct Hand Ignitions on Cuervito Fire

Contact(s): Chantel Herrick


SANTA FE, NM – May 13, 2021 – A Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) will assume management responsibilities of the Cuervito Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) at the end of shift tonight. The Cuervito Fire is approximately 100 acres and continues to spread with low intensity.

The SFNF decided to manage the lightning-caused fire by allowing it to play its natural role on the fire-adapted landscape. By consuming and reducing forest debris, the Cuervito Fire will promote a healthier forest and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires to surrounding communities.

Managing a naturally ignited wildfire is not equivalent to “letting it burn.” Forest and fire managers set specific objectives and develop a plan to achieve them based on conditions on the ground. The strategic and tactical expertise required to manage wildfire for resource benefit helps forest managers reach desired conditions on the land.

Location: 9 miles east of Pecos and 3 miles southwest of the Barillas Lookout

Start Date:  May 9, 2021

Size:  Approximately 100 acres with the potential for approximately 1,500 acres

Cause:  Lightning

Resources Assigned:  2 Hotshot crews, 4 engines, 1 dozer, 1 masticator, and miscellaneous overhead from the IMT

Fuels:  Ponderosa pine, piñon-juniper, Douglas fir and oak brush

Operations:  Crews conducted hand ignitions along Forest Service Road (FSR) 81FB and FSR 200, which will strengthen control lines. There may be an increase in smoke visible from surrounding communities. The  intention is to keep the fire west of FSR 200 and 200M, south and east of FSR 81FB and north of FSR 81AA and 200H.

Weather:  Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Winds are predicted to be out of the southwest between 5 to 8 mph, shifting to 8 to 12 mph in the afternoon. Gusty and erratic winds are expected near thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Values at risk:  Firefighter and public safety is always the number-one priority for the IMT. Values at risk include private property nearby.

Smoke:  Smoke management is a key part of the planning and implementation of managed wildfire. Smoke from the Cuervito Fire may impact the communities of Santa Fe, Pecos, Las Vegas, Rowe, Glorieta, La Cueva, North and South San Ysidro, Ilfeld, San Jose, San Juan, Tecolote, Soham, Ribera, Serafina, Bernal, Anton Chico, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo and Pablo as well as the I-25 corridor and the Pecos National Historical Park.

Safety:  Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.

Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website, Inciweb and on the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/santafe/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD910894