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Fires blaze across N.M.

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Blaze > Thompson Ridge remains 50 percent contained

By The Staff

The Thompson Ridge fire sent up tall plumes of smoke in northern New Mexico Tuesday as the fire works its way through previously unburned fuel.

The wildfire has burned 22,852 acres in the western portion of the Santa Fe National Forest and in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. It’s 50 percent contained, according to the Wednesday morning update from fire officials.

Fire management team spokesperson Jan Bardwell said previously unburned fuel in the fire’s interior produced tall plumes of smoke on Tuesday and is expected to do so again Wednesday.

Bardwell says some is due to crowns of trees catching fire after being dried out from when low-intensity fire moved through an area previously.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to the Thompson Ridge fire. It began May 31 because of a downed power line.

The Wednesday morning update said, “last night, crews experienced minimal fire behavior through the night. The majority of activity involved patrolling on the northeast edge of the fire and continued mop up operations south toward the Headquarters District. Crews continued mop up on the flanks of the spot fire on South Mountain checking for hot spots within the perimeter.

“Today, firefighters will continue to patrol the perimeter and seek out hot spots within the interior. New hotspots may have appeared in the evening as larger columns collapsed and could potentially drop embers on previously cleared areas. “

The Thompson Ridge Fire is one of four wildfires now burning in New Mexico.

A new wildfire burning in the Pecos Wilderness north of Santa Fe more than quadrupled in size Tuesday, burning into an area of down timber that helped to fuel the flames.

The lightning-sparked Jaroso Fire charred about 1,500 acres and was pushing toward Truchas Peak late Tuesday afternoon.

“There are no boots on the ground because of the unsafe conditions so we’ve been fighting it from the air,” said Santa Fe National Forest spokesman Lawrence Lujan.

The blaze started Monday afternoon and quickly burned more than 300 acres, fueled by mixed conifer and dead and dying trees. It was burning in a remote area, and officials said no structures were threatened.

North of Pecos, the Tres Lagunas Fire has burned nearly 16 square miles. It, too, was sparked by a downed power line.

Fire officials said the focus Tuesday was rehabilitating the fire line and mopping up. The fire is 70 percent contained.

Crews battling the lightning-sparked Silver Fire in southwestern New Mexico were working in steep, rugged terrain. The fire is less than 2 miles from the small community of Kingston, which was evacuated Monday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire had burned more than 10 square miles. Beetle-killed trees are helping to fuel the flames.

Firefighters in southwestern New Mexico are trying to keep the wildfire from reaching an old mining town whose 45 or so residents have already been evacuated.

The Silver fire in southwestern New Mexico continues to grow, now having burned 13 square miles.
Fires also are raging in Colorado.

A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 900 prisoners at a state prison southwest of Colorado Springs early Wednesday, one of four blazes along Colorado’s Front Range that destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee. It’s one of four burning on the eastern range.