Updated 4:52 p.m. MDT April 10, 2022
Information released from the Incident Management Team for the Hermits Peak Fire at approximately 1:30 p.m. MDT on Sunday, stated that voluntary evacuations are in effect for three communities:
In coordination with the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, voluntary evacuations for the communities of San Ignacio, Las Dispensas and Pendaries have been put in place. Forecasted winds exceeding 60 mph have been predicted for today. Increasing winds each day through next week can cause holding concerns, drier weather is forecasted into next week and a RED FLAG WARNING is in effect for the fire area today until 8 pm.
The Incident Management Teams will continue using full suppression strategy utilizing hand crews and assessing the best strategy to engage the fire during the high wind period. The Hermits Peak Fire is in steep, rugged, terrain with limited access by vehicle. Firefighters are working to keep the fire out of Beaver Creek and out of the Gallinas Municipal Watershed.
Early Sunday morning the fire was about 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico and according to the US Forest Service had burned 540 acres.
To see all articles about the Hermits Peak Fire on Wildfire Today, including the most recent, click HERE.
A Type 2 Incident Management Team, Southwest Team 4 with Incident Commander Aaron Hulburd, will assume command on Monday, April 11.
On Sunday resources assigned to the fire included 4 hotshot crews, 1 Type 2 IA crew, 8 fire engines, 1 Type 1 helicopter, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 1 Type 3 helicopter, 1 Rapid Extraction Module, and 1 Tactical Water Tender, for a total of 163 personnel.
Updated 12:05 p.m. MDT April 10, 2022
Hermits Peak Fire
Most of the Hermits Peak Fire in the Santa Fe National Forest 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico is spreading in the Pecos Wilderness. While the transition is occurring from the Type 3 Incident Management Team to the incoming Type 2 Team very little current information is available. An unofficial estimate of the size after a mapping flight early Sunday morning puts it at more than 500 acres.
The weather will challenge firefighters for the next several days, with looming Red Flag Warnings Sunday and Monday and a Fire Weather Watch on Tuesday. The spot weather forecast for Sunday is for 10 to 14 percent relative humidity, an unstable atmosphere, the possibility of erratic, downburst winds, and general 22 to 30 mph winds gusting in the afternoon out of the west to 60 mph along ridges. Strong winds and low humidities will continue Sunday night and Monday. A longer range forecast predicts strong winds and low humidities persisting into Saturday, April 15.
The Incident Management Team said the fire could potentially spread in all directions on Sunday due to the predicted wind and topography.
The Hermits Peak Fire is a result of the Las Dispensas prescribed fire spreading out of control at 4:30 p.m. on April 6.
Another escaped prescribed fire, the Overflow Fire 10 miles southeast of Roswell, New Mexico, is burning in lighter fuels than the Hermits Peak Fire. Sunday morning it is still listed at 1,900 acres as the firefighters move into the mopup phase. Resources for the fire Sunday include five engines, two hotshot crews, and one bulldozer. Air support resources remain on standby.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect Sunday in Southeast New Mexico due to expected strong winds and low relative humidity. Monday’s forecast predicts similar conditions, with the Red Flag Warning remaining in place.
12:04 MDT April 9, 2022
Two prescribed fire projects in New Mexico have escaped and were declared as wildfires.
The Hermits Peak Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest is 29 miles east of Santa Fe and 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico. It escaped from the Las Dispensas prescribed fire at 4:30 p.m. on April 6 after the project was ignited late that morning. On Friday the U.S. Forest Service said it had burned approximately 350 acres after having been declared a wildfire. It is burning in mixed conifer in steep, rugged terrain. A Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed command on April 8 with the objective of full suppression. A Type 2 IMT, Southwest Team 4 with Incident Commander Aaron Hulburd, has been ordered and will inbrief at 9 a.m. Sunday.
It is moving toward the Pecos Wilderness. As of April 8 there were no direct threats to private property.
In a statement released on April 6, the U.S. Forest Service said, “Although forecasted weather conditions were within parameters for the prescribed burn, unexpected erratic winds in the late afternoon caused multiple spot fires that spread outside the project boundary.”
The Overflow Fire has burned approximately 1,900 acres of salt cedar and grass 10 miles southeast of Roswell, New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management was conducting a prescribed fire along the Pecos River corridor in Chaves County on April 7 when, the agency said, “an unexpected fire whirl carried fire across the control lines.” It was declared a wildfire at 1:25 p.m. April 7 and the strategy is full suppression. It has spread onto Federal, State and private lands.
As of April 8 resources on the incident included six engines, two hotshot crews, and overhead from Chaves County, Carlsbad Fire Department, Ruidoso Fire Department, New Mexico Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Early in the morning on April 6 The National Weather Service said there would be strong winds across Central and Western New Mexico that day. They issued a wind advisory for “northwest and central portions of the area” in effect from 2 to 7 p.m.
Another windy day is forecast across central and western #NM with areas of blowing dust developing during the afternoon hours. A Wind Advisory is in effect from 2-7PM MDT for northwest and central portions of the area, including the #Albuquerque Metro. #nmwx pic.twitter.com/MyvOcMhoQb
— NWS Albuquerque (@NWSAlbuquerque) April 6, 2022
The spot weather forecast for the Las Dispensas prescribed fire which became the Hermits Peak wildfire was issued at 8:54 a.m. MDT April 6, a few hours before it was ignited. It predicted clear skies, 9 to 13 percent relative humidity, and winds at 20 feet to be out of the west at 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph possible.
A spot weather forecast for the Overflow prescribed fire issued the previous evening predicted for the next day clear skies, 7 percent relative humidity, and “north winds 5 to 6 mph shifting to the south 7 to 13 mph late in the morning.”
Fire crews continue to make progress on a fire burning south Roswell pic.twitter.com/pZnNnO5e4c
— Robert Zaleski (@zaleskiKRQE) April 8, 2022