Las Conchas fire continues spreading towards the northeast

Las Conchas - Cerro Grande fire map 2330 6-29-2011
Las Conchas - Pacheco fire map 0325 7-1-2011
Map showing the Las Conchas and Pacheco fires near Santa Fe, NM. Data current at 3:25 a.m. July 1, 2011

Update at 12:40 p.m. MT, July 1, 2011:

The incident management team provided some updated information on the Las Conchas fire northwest of Santa Fe, NM, including:

  • Size: increased from 93,678 acres to 103,842, making it the largest fire in the history of New Mexico, surpassing the Dry Lakes fire which burned more than 94,000 acres of the Gila National Forest in 2003.
  • Equipment and aircraft: 4 dozers, 52 engines, 9 helicopters.
  • Personnel: 1,201
  • Containment: 3%

And this:

North Zone Fire Update

Winds will be lighter today and are projected to push the fire eastward. We expect the fire to become active with extreme fire behavior where winds and slope align. Precipitation from yesterday will only improve fuel moistures in the fine dead fuels until the afternoon when fuel moistures will return to conditions seen in previous days. Heavy fuels held the fire overnight; however, mop-up efforts are needed to prevent additional growth. The fire may become plume dominated, with the potential for erratic spreading and spotting in all directions.

North – The fire may continue to progress north and east beyond the 144 road and may align with terrain in the gap between the South Fork and Cerro Grande burn scars. The lighter fuels in these areas will reduce the fire’s intensity but remain receptive to spotting. Firefighters plan to conduct burnout operations in the area.

East – Firefighters will continue burnout operations along the Pajarito Ski Area to reduce the likelihood for spotting. Firefighters will be completing line around Los Alamos and looking for opportunities to check the fire’s spread in the old Cerro Grande burn.

South side of north zone – Firefighters will be monitoring the area, checking the fire’s spread as needed, and ensuring heavy fuels are well mopped-up to prevent embers blowing across the line.

West – Firefighters will work on a direct fire line from 4 Road to Valles Caldera 2 Road and prepare the Valles Caldera 4 Road for burnout to help confine the fire’s spread.

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9:00 a.m. MT, July 1, 2011

The Las Conchas fire in northern New Mexico continued marching toward the north and northeast on Thursday, coming to within one-half mile of New Mexico State Highway 565. The last size of the fire that was posted by the incident management team on Thursday listed it at 93,678 acres, but it is probably over 100,000 acres now, Friday morning.

We will post more information as it becomes available. Evacuation information can be found on InciWeb.

Scroll down to see more information and detailed maps of the fire.

Las Conchas fire map 0325 7-1-2011
Las Conchas fire map showing heat detected by satellites at 3:25 a.m. MT, 7-1-2011. The red areas were actively burning at that time, while the yellow was within the last 12 hours, and the black was within the last 24 hours. MODIS

Someone, the map does not say who, has produced an excellent map of the Las Conchas fire which also shows the Cerro Grande fire that burned in the same general area in 2000. While the large-font date on the map says June 30, 2011, it was made from an infrared mapping flight at 11:30 p.m. MT, June 29, 2011. Below is a low-resolution copy of the map; you can download the full version here, which we found on InciWeb.

Las Conchas - Cerro Grande fire map 2330 6-29-2011
Las Conchas - Cerro Grande fire map 11:30 p.m. MT, June 29, 2011. Credit: unknown

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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.

2 thoughts on “Las Conchas fire continues spreading towards the northeast”

  1. Based on the signature in the bottom left hand corner, the producer’s initials were DJH, and they were with NPS IMR FAM (probably the National Park Service, Intermountain Region, Fire and Aviation Management).

    The map is based on a standard Fire Incident Mapping Tool (FIMT) template, so the producer is likely an incident GISS at least part of the time.

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