Cajete Fire west of Los Alamos doubles in size

map Cajete Fire arizona Los Alamos

Above: A 3-D map of the Cajete Fire in northern New Mexico. The red line was the perimeter at 10 p.m. MDT June 16, 2017. The white line was from about 20 hours earlier. 

(UPDATED at 11:54 a.m. MDT June 17, 2017)

The Cajete Fire in the Santa Fe National Forest doubled in size on Friday, increasing to 1,325 acres. 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 in northern New Mexico.

The fire is spreading mostly through timber. Yesterday the southeast portion moved into the footprint of the Las Conchas Fire that burned 63 structures and 156,000 acres in 2011. It is likely that in the six-year old fire scar there will be less resistance to control.

Officials believe the fire started approximately one mile northeast of Vallecitos de los Indios but have not yet released a cause. The burned area runs along the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Approximately 70 structures are threatened, many of which have been evacuated, including a lookout tower.

On Friday the fire ran up a slope south of Highway 4, from 8,300 feet above sea level to about 9,300 feet.

On Friday the firefighting resources assigned included about 150 personnel, multiple engines, one bulldozer, four helicopters (including a rappel ship), five air tankers, and two air attack platforms.

As this was written at 11:50 a.m. MDT on June 17, a C-130Q air tanker had just departed the fire after presumably dropping a load of fire retardant. See the map below.

C-130Q air tanker Cajete Fire
A C-130Q air tanker departs the Cajete Fire at 11:50 a.m. MDT June 17, 2017.

Mark von Tillow’s Type 1 Incident Management Team from California assumed command at 7 a.m. on Saturday, taking over from a Type 3 Team. The official strategy of the team is to fully suppress the fire.

Map Bonita and Cajete Fires
Map showing the location of the Bonita and Cajete Fires north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Author: Bill Gabbert

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

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