A property owner outside of Punta de Agua ended up with minor burns on their arms and hands, likely from attempting to extinguish an “agriculture burn on private land,” according to Mountainair Ranger Anthony Martinez.
Martinez said when fire crews arrived, they could tell it was “human-caused,” but Rangers did not make direct contact with the property owner and were able to confirm that the land was owned by the person who was burned and started the fire.
The fire got out of control under the supervision of the property owner and ended up burning 5 acres of grassland, and being named the Gato Fire. The fire was set and extinguished on June 16. The Forest Service and three Torrance County districts responded along with Mountainair Fire Department.
On June 13, a structure fire started in Moriarty, off of Lexco Road, in a camper behind a mobile home, jumping to the mobile home burning it down. The structure was a total loss. The cause of the fire is unknown. Moriarty Fire Department, the McIntosh Fire Department, and the Torrance County Fire Department responded in less than 15 minutes, according to Torrance County Fire Chief Don Dirks. The home was a total loss and the fire was completely extinguished.
Dirks said Torrance County had a total of six incidents in the past week. In addition to the two structure fires, there were three grass fires along Interstate 40. The first two were between mile markers 203 and 204. The second was at mile marker 229. The cause for one is unknown, the cause for the second was fireworks and the third was caused by a vehicle dragging equipment on the freeway. All three grass fires consumed less than half an acre each.
The current fire danger is extreme due to dryness and the heat index, he said, adding, “Please be super careful with fireworks during the upcoming holiday!”
Fire danger in Mountainair Ranger District is “Very High” and Sandia is “High.”
There were no fires to report for Santa Fe County.
In addition to the fires this week, conditions in the area remain extremely dry, and as a result the Cibola National Forest moved into Stage 2 restrictions starting June 18.
This affects the counties Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, Catron, Sierra, Torrance, Valencia, Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Lincoln.
Stage 2 restrictions prohibit fireworks, explosives, and incendiary devices; building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material; welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame; possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest roads, on all lands and trails, unless solely for the purpose of parking in an area that is devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway, or in areas that are designated for parking within developed recreation sites; operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.