Cajete Fire west of Los Alamos causes evacuations

The Bonita Fire continues to burn in the Carson National Forest.

Map Cajete Fire

Above: Map showing the location of the Cajete Fire in northern New Mexico at 2:04 a.m. MDT June 16, 2017.

The Cajete Fire in northern New Mexico grew quickly after it was reported on Thursday, burning about 660 acres in the first burning period along the southern boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The fire has burned on both sides of Highway 4 in the Santa Fe National Forest 7 miles northeast of Jemez Springs and 12 miles west of Los Alamos.

It burned intensely Thursday to the east creating spot fires more than 600 feet ahead of the main fire.

On Thursday approximately 200 people were evacuated from the communities of Los Griegos, Sierra de los Pinos, and the Ruby Holt Plat.

California’s Interagency Incident Management Team #3, a Type 1 team led by Mark von Tillow, was dispatched to the fire Thursday after being staged in Mesa, Arizona. The strategy  on the fire is full suppression.

Map Cajete wildfires Bonita Fires
Map showing the location of the Cajete and Bonita Fires in northern New Mexico, June 16, 2017.

Steve Bassett constructed the map below showing that the Cajeta Fire is partially hemmed in by several large fires that occurred between 2005 and 2016 — the Thompson Ridge, Valle, Big Hat, and Las Conchas Fires. It is possible that if it burns into those fire scars the rate of spread will decrease.

The Bonita Fire farther to the north in the Carson National Forest has been burning since June 3 and has been very active today and yesterday, spreading across 4,170 acres. It is being managed in both full suppression and confine strategies, depending on the location. It is 4 miles south of highway 64, 9 miles west of Highway 285, and 9 miles southwest of Tres Piedras.

The smoke plume from both the Bonita and Cajeta Fires can be clearly seen in the satellite image above.

RJ85 drops Cajete Fire wildfire
An RJ85 drops on the Cajete Fire, June 15, 2017. It appears to be AeroFlite’s Tanker 163. Screen grab from KRQE video.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *