Dog Head Fire tripled in size so far today

Torrance County Sheriff Heath White points at the area of the Morningside subdivision, where he and his deputies have been going door-to-door letting people know they should evacuate. Photo by Leota Harriman.

9:05 p.m. The following is compiled from various sources online and firsthand reporting:

As of about 7 p.m., Highway 337 was closed to allow fire traffic onlly. Traffic is being rerouted through Highway 217.

The fire is located 7 miles southwest of Chilili, and throughout the day the wind was blowing toward the Northeast, over the towns of Edgewood and Moriarty. The City of Moriarty, where the plume passed right overhead, cautioned people with respiratory issues to stay indoors and avoid the smoke if possible.

Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said in the early afternoon that facilities are available in Estancia and Moriarty for people to take livestock if necessary. In addition, Walkin N Circles horse rescue has already taken several horses with a few more on the way as of a few hours ago. East Mountain Pet Alert also offered help connecting people who need help moving animals.

Evacuation centers are set up at Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras, for both people and animals. Another is set up at the Torrance County Fairgrounds in Estancia, for both people and animals.

About 3 p.m. this afternoon the Forest Service provided an update on a second fire which started today on the Chilili Land Grant. Dubbed the Luck Fire, it is located 2 miles northeast of the Dog Head Fire and 5 miles southwest of Chilili. From the Dog Head Fire Information Facebook page: “The Lucky Fire, 5 miles south of the Dog Head Fire, is at 1 acre. Two engines are on the scene with an investigator enroute. One air tanker drop was dropped to slow movement with several Type 1 Helicopter bucket drops. Info to come as it comes in.”

6 p.m. A spokeswoman who identified herself only as Terry said the estimated size of the fire is currently 2,000 acres, roughly triple where it was this morning.

A press release at 4 p.m. this afternoon said the Bernalillo County Sheriff issued a voluntary evacuation for the village of Chilili.

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South of the Village of Chilili, June 15 at around 4 p.m., showing the plume of smoke from the fire just a few miles away as the crow flies. Photo by Leota Harriman.

As of about 4:30 this afternoon, a giant plume of smoke obliterated the sun from the village. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Felica Romero said deputies are in the area visiting with residents and asking them to prepare and leave.

Romero said residents who want information on the evacuation can call the department’s non-emergency number, 505-798-7000. For “more live” updates, Romero said the department is sending out updates on Twitter. Search for @bscdsheriff, or look for Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department on Facebook, she said.

Meanwhile, Torrance County deputies are doing the same in the area farther south, for the Morningside subdivision, with roads La Para, Acevedes and others near the fire’s head.

Evacuation centers are located at the Torrance County Fairgrounds and Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras.

A community meeting is planned for tonight at 7 p.m. at the Torreón Community Center.

At the time this story was written, around 6 p.m., calls to the Torrance County Emergency Manager and the Forest Service for comment had not yet been returned.

3:48 p.m. This reporter got a ride in to the end of La Para Rd., where people are now being advised to evacuate, from Torrance County Sheriff Heath White.

White said Bernalillo County was evacuating Chilili.

3:40 p.m. Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said a couple of ranchers on horseback and another on an ATV went into the fire, going right past White and his deputies. Because they have not committed a crime, deputies didn’t stop them but now their location is unknown.

The view from the southern end of the Chilili Land Grant. Conditions are very hot and very windy.

No recent update from law enforcement but flames exploding are clearly visible in this video.

Lousy video, but it shows flames visible on the ridge intermittently as the fire grows in size.

Sheriff Heath White offered some advice to those in the path of the fire: “Heed our warning,” he said. “If we tell you it’s time to get out, it’s time to get out.”