Interstate 25 near Raton, NM still closed due to Track fire

Update at 8:30 a.m. MT, June 15, 2011: read our more current information about the Track fire near Raton, NM

Update at 5:47 p.m. MT, June 14, 2011:

New Mexico Fire Information posted this on their site a short while ago:

New Evacuations for the Track fire

…The Track Fire has moved south of Horse Mesa prompting a mandatory evacuation for residents located in the area beginning at Junction 72 and 526 east to Bear Canyon Road. Colfax Sheriffs Department and New Mexico State Police are conducting door to door evacuation notification to those residents.

An evacuation center is currently set up at the Raton Convention Center in Raton, NM. The evacuation center phone number is (575) 445-8679.

For more information on the Track Fire a Fire Information phone line has been established at the Incident Command Post in Raton. For more information on the Track Fire please call (575) 445-5234.


Raton wildfire forces I-25 detour:


A fire that was last mapped at 24,034 acres has kept a main north-south Interstate highway closed for the last two days. The Track fire started in the northeast corner of New Mexico near Raton on the west side of Interstate 25, jumped the highway and ran for at least 8 miles beyond the Interstate, crossing the state line into Colorado.

Two homes, three cabins, and five outbuildings have burned in the fire, all of them in New Mexico except for one cabin in Colorado.

Information from New Mexico Fire Information:

As of this morning, the New Mexico Incident Management Team took over command of the Track Fire located north of Raton.

The fire grew to 24,034 acres yesterday as RED FLAG conditions along with strong winds from the southwest pushed the fire to the northeast past Sugarite Canyon Park and into Colorado south of Starkville.

The Track Fire is burning primarily on private land and state lands in both New Mexico and Colorado in very steep mountainous terrain making it difficult for firefighters to access. Air support including a DC 10 was utilized yesterday to hold fire north of the community of Raton. The Track Fire prompted an evacuation of approximately 500 people according to New Mexico State Police.

Firefighters will focus today on holding the fire north of the community of Raton and away from the Water Plant. A structure protection group including 20 engines coordinating with the Raton Fire Department will be conducting structure protection in the subdivision just south of the Water Plant.

Important Traffic Information: I-25 remains closed from Raton to Trinidad Colorado. Detour information is as follows:

North Bound Traffic:

From I-25 turn right on US 64 (approx. 27 mi) to Capulin, then continue on US 64 to Des Moines( approx. 9 mi), at Des Moines, turn north on NM 325 to Folsom ( approx, 11 mi.) at Folsom turn right to NM 456 continue to NM 551 into Branson, Colorado.

South Bound Traffic:

Motorists traveling southbound from Branson, Colorado into New Mexico, should take NM 551, then NM 456 at Folsom, NM, continue Southbound on NM 325 to Capulin, NM, turn right or westbound on US 64 to Raton, and southbound I-25.

You can see a small portion of the heel of the fire at the NM DOT site. Click on “Cameras and Message Signs”, then click the box next to “Statewide Cameras”. Then click the camera icon that appears in the upper-right of the map by Raton.

Below is a map showing heat detected by satellites at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday. If we get an updated map we will replace this one. But a satellite pass over the area at 1:43 p.m. on Tuesday did not detected any large heat sources on the fire, which may indicate the spread of the fire at that time had slowed considerably. Later in the day that may have changed.


Track fire map data 0245 6-14-2011
Map of the Track fire, showing heat (the yellow & brown squares) detected by satellites over the last 6 days. Heat data current as of 2:45 a.m. MT, June 14. MODIS/Google

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.