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Now two weeks old, the Thompson Ridge Wildfire officially hit 24,000 acres in size Thursday, but crews working the blaze were aided by the weather to get containment to the 75 percent mark.
“The Friday morning update said, “Fire activity last night was minimal, allowing firefighters to address hotspots, patrol the perimeter of the fire, and mop-up further into the interior. Cleanup efforts will begin today with the removal of hoses, cutting of snags, and chipping of felled trees. Suppression rehabilitation efforts will also begin around South Mountain as we mitigate the impact of firefighter efforts to stop the fire.” officials said in a statement.
Crews continued mop-up on South Mountain and chipping in the southeast section of the fire. The spot fire that occurred early this morning was reevaluated, and was calculated at 40 acres. Crews contained the spot fire by expanding the fireline utilizing bulldozers, digging handline, setting hose lays, and removing snags.
Portions of N.M. 4 will be reduced to one lane Friday for chipping and removal of vegetation that was cut to prepare the contingency line along that roadway.
Smoke, intense heat and rugged terrain, meanwhile, were making it difficult Thursday for fire managers in northern New Mexico to size up a blaze that was racing across thousands of acres of dead and downed trees deep in the Pecos Wilderness.
Officials had estimated that the Jaroso Fire had ballooned to 12 square miles on Wednesday. However, infrared mapping done overnight put the burned area at nearly 6 square miles.
Even though the lightning-sparked fire has charred fewer square miles, officials on Thursday described the behavior of the flames as unprecedented. Years of buildup within the forests have combined with dangerously dry conditions to make for extreme fire danger across New Mexico and many parts of the West.
“We’ve had several years of drought conditions and we’re seeing overcrowded forests. The conditions are the same here as they are in other forests around the country,” said Dorotea Martinez, a spokeswoman with the Carson National Forest.
Another wildfire in northern New Mexico has prompted approximately 100 Boy Scouts to relocate to another camping area within the Philmont Scout Ranch as a precaution.
State forestry officials say the White Peak’s fire has charred an estimated 850 acres about 14 miles southwest of Cimarron.
The lightning-caused fire began Thursday morning.