A fire deemed the “Paradise Loop Fire” which started in Edgewood off of Route 66 and V-Hill road on April 24 at 5:30 in the morning, is suppressed and contained, said Torrance County Fire Chief Don Dirks. He said the fire department doesn’t like to say “100% containment” because as the smolders can still be picked up by the wind and start another fire.
A press release from N.M. State Forestry this afternoon said the fire is 85% contained at this time, with an estimated size of 50 acres
By the afternoon of April 24, the fire was 30% contained and the neighborhood was evacuated to the Walmart in Edgewood, with smoke visible around the area.
According to the State Forestry the cause of fire was “debris burning area vegetation including grass, brush and trees. No homes were lost in the fire and three outbuildings were lost.
Dirks said the first mile of V-Hill road from Route 66 south was evacuated. The fire department was concerned about the trees to the west of the area, so they evacuated and called in air support from the State Forestry. State Forestry brought in a helicopter to make water drops.
Chief Dirks said the fire was started unintentionally.
He said there are two possibilities for how the fire started: cigarette butts were found in close vicinity to the fire and one of the occupants was doing some organic farming. He said they had a compost pile, growing potatoes with mulch, inside tires near the house. He said the compost was hot and its possible that the heat from the compost combined with the wind conditions could have “somehow spontaneously combusted and caught a bail of hay on fire.”
He said the Torrance County Fire Department doesn’t have a definite answer, but they did confirm that it wasn’t illegal burning.
Dirks said Torrance County, Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County fire departments all responded, as well as State Forestry. He said they had a helicopter, five engines, three tinder tanks that carry 3,000 gallons of water each, and approximately nine brush trucks.
“There was good cooperation amongst the agencies which allowed us to get the fire under control quickly,” Dirks said, adding, “However, we are always looking for volunteers to help!”
Smoke may still be visible from the interior of the fire, he said. Individuals sensitive to wildfire smoke should take precautions and use the New Mexico Department of Health 5-3-1 Visibility Method to determine if it’s safe to be outside.
For information on current conditions with fire season in the area visit nmfireinfo.com.