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