Winds ease Saturday, critical fire weather returns Sunday
Morning update 30/04/2022
Acres: 56,276 acres
Location: North of Ocate NM, about 46 miles north of Las Vegas, NM
Start date: Sunday April 17, 2022
Cause: Human, under investigation
Fuels: ponderosa pine, oak brush and grass
Current evacuations for Mora and Colfax counties:
Colfax County – As of 6:00 p.m., Friday, April 29, 2022, the evacuation status on the Cooks Peak Fire, for Colfax County has changed. TO GO: Philmont Scout Ranch Back Country West of State Road 21. POSITION: Sweetwater, Rayado and Sunnyside. READY: Miami Headquarters and the Philmont Scout Ranch. Mora County – TO: Los LeFebres and Los Huerros, residents east of County Road 009 and north of NM Highway 120. Together: Los Cocas.
The Mora County and Colfax Sheriff’s Offices use the Ready! Adjust! To go! (https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/fire-prevention-programs/ready-set-go-new-mexico/) state evacuation program that provides evacuation and preparedness information of evacuation.
An evacuation center is based at Old Memorial Middle School, 947 Old National Rd, Las Vegas. The Colfax County Fairgrounds was closed.
Livestock: The Taos Rodeo Grounds is available to residents of Mora if they need a place for horses. Contact: Livestock Inspector Ruben Baca 505-770-1490.
Public meeting: A community meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at 6:00 p.m. at Cimarron High School located at 165 N Collison Ave, Cimarron, NM 87714. The meeting will also be streamed live on the Cooks Peak Fire Information Facebook page: https://www.facebook .com/CooksPeakFireInfo/.
Fire Update: The Cooks Peak Fire experienced red flag weather yesterday, with sustained winds of 30-40mph and gusts of 50-60mph. Ground resources, including manual crews and heavy equipment, were able to continue advancing into the fire area. Due to extreme winds, the plane was grounded.
Firefighters patrolled containment lines and ensured that the Cooks Peak Fire did not come close to structures, property and natural resources. Suppression repair work continued in the Gallinas Mesa and Halls Peak area and monitored interior flames and smoke. Crews continued to build a line of fire along the western edge and clean up as needed. Manual crews responded to reports of indoor smoke near Rayado, on the northeast side of the fire, and monitored the area overnight.
Today, removal cleanup and repair work, including returning bulldozer lines to a more natural state, constructing water bars where needed and repairing fencing, will continue in areas where fire lines have been secured and where fire is no longer a threat. Firing operations may take place on the western flank of the Cooks Peak Fire to secure an additional line of fire. Aerial ignitions are also planned to eliminate the pocket of unburned fuel in the Agueje Canyon, to reinforce the fire lines south of Sweetwater, weather permitting. Aviation resources will also assist with water drops to help extinguish fires in the rugged, heavily treed terrain and difficult topography of the north end of the fire near Urraca Mesa.
Weather: On Saturday, the winds will be lighter and temperatures will rise a few degrees. Relative humidity will remain exceptionally dry. Another critical fire weather day is possible on Sunday with strong gusty winds and low relative humidity.
Motorway closures: New Mexico Route 120 remains closed from mile marker 26 3 miles west of Ocate due to fire activity and equipment entering the area to support firefighting efforts . Motorists are advised to delay their journey or seek alternative routes. State Road 21 from Polo Ranch to Cimarron is open to local traffic only and remains closed to through traffic. Visit https://nmroads.com/mapIndex.html for more information.
Smoke: Good air quality is expected this morning, with air quality improving to moderate this afternoon due to the effects of southwesterly winds and large fires in northern New Mexico. Unhealthy times for sensitive groups are possible in Miami this afternoon through early evening. Smoke may affect I-25 between Wagon Mound and Springer this afternoon through early night. Residents are encouraged to stay informed of potential changes by visiting the interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/, which allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
Air restrictions: There is a temporary flight restriction over Cooks Peak Fire. Firefighting aircraft fly at very low altitudes, usually a few hundred feet above the ground. This creates the potential for a mid-air collision. Any aircraft entering the fire area, including drones, could cause all firefighting aircraft to be grounded until they have exited the fire area. Stay out of the airspace above the Cooks Peak Fire.
Fire Restrictions: Fire restrictions are in place to help reduce the risk of wildfires. The New Mexico State Forester has implemented statewide fire restrictions. Smoking, fireworks, open campfires and open fires are prohibited. For more information, see https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/forestry-news/ The Bureau of Land Management, Farmington District also has fire restrictions in place. Fireworks, campfires, smoking and operation of machinery, including off-road ORV use, are prohibited. Visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/new-mexico/fire-restrictions for details.
New Mexico Fire information: https://nmfireinfo.com/
Smoke Outlook: https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook/b335b9f4
Colfax County: http://www.co.colfax.nm.us/government/sheriff_s_department.php