10 p.m., July 9
While the official estimated size of the Ojo de Los Casos Fire is still listed at 90 acres, Forest Service spokesperson Arlene Perea said that estimate was from “last night,” meaning July 8.
“We know the fire has grown,” Perea wrote to The Independent late July 9. “The team will have an updated acreage after their infrared flight tonight.”
Perea said flights happen anytime throughout the night, and said acreage estimates “normally come out once a day in morning update.”
Containment figures would be released at that time also, she said.
The fire is burning near the Dog Head Fire scar, in Torrance County, 7 miles west of La Jara Road, “just past the place the locals call ‘the Mormons,’ said resident Pat Martinez.
The cause is currently unknown and the fire is at zero percent containment.
The fire was first reported around 6 p.m. on July 8. As of the morning of July 9 the size of the fire was estimated at 90 acres.
Multiple agencies responded to the fire and include a Type 3 Incident Management Team, four interagency hot shot crews, multiple engines, multiple helicopters and air tankers, and various support personnel from the U.S. Forest Service and cooperating agencies including Bernalillo County, Santa Fe County and Torrance County Fire Departments, and State Forestry.
Perea said firefighters quickly responded with air support in the form of water and fire retardant.
With a slowing of fire activity, ground resources were able to work through the night to construct fire line. The eastern spread slowed considerably as the fire reached the burn scar from the 2016 Dog Head Fire.
No evacuations or official closures are in place at this time, however local residents are advised to be prepared, and emergency managers are making preparations in case conditions change.
The Forest Service and N.M. State Forestry are working together to suppress this fire that is currently burning on both Forest Service and private land.
The safety of the public and firefighters is always the top priority in wildland fire operations, and Ojo de Los Casos Fire operations include best management practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within firefighter crews and the public, Perea said.
The public is reminded to avoid using drones near wildfires. If drones are illegally flown over a fire, air operations could be suspended. “When this happens, fire crews lose a valuable resource, which can adversely affect the safety and efficiency of the overall firefighting effort,” said Perea.
She said smoke may be visible from I-25, and throughout the East Mountains and Estancia Valley.
Smoke will be monitored to assess potential health impacts, and the Forest Service will coordinate with the N.M. Department of Transportation and the N.M. Environment Department and Department of Health to issue any needed alerts. Additional information can be found at nmtracking.org/fire.
Perea said, “A 5-mile temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire for the safety of aviation and ground resources.” Adding, “The fire area will be temporarily closed to fuel wood harvest for firefighter and public safety.”
For more information about fire preparedness, how to create defensible space or to monitor the fire maps visit nmfireinfo.com.
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