Three possible new fires ignited

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Firefighters responded to a fire north of the Valles Caldera

By Special to the Monitor

Firefighters are responding to three possible new wildfires on the Santa Fe National Forest.

The estimated 5-acre, Red Fern wildfire is located five miles east of the Rio Las Vacas Campground, off of F.R. 264 on the Cuba Ranger District. The fire is threatening one cabin and smoke is visible from Highway 126 and surrounding areas. The cause of the Red Fern wildfire is under investigation.

Two engines and other firefighters, including two Type 1 hotshot crews are on scene, actively suppressing the fire. Two helicopters are working the fire, extracting water from nearby lakes.

One  lead plane and two air tankers are being ordered. Officers from New Mexico State Police are controlling traffic on Highway 126 at F.R. 264.

Firefighters are also responding to another fire on the Española Ranger District, located north of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The South Fork, is estimated at 3-5 acres. Smoke is reported as dark grey and very visible. Resources are en route.  

The third wildfire was just reported on the northwest side of the forest on the Coyote Ranger District. Resources are also en route.  

Early this morning, firefighters also contained another human caused fire on the Jemez Ranger District located near Battleship Rock.

Increased fire danger and active fire activity across New Mexico and Arizona, has prompted the need for Stage 1 fire restrictions across the Santa Fe National Forest, including wilderness areas beginning at 8 a.m. today.  

First level (Stage 1) restrictions will limit campfires to Forest Service developed camp and picnic grounds where grills and grates are provided. Smoking is permitted only in vehicles, in developed campgrounds, or in areas cleared at least three feet in diameter of all flammable material.

Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device is also prohibited. Gas and propane stoves, lanterns or heating devices are permitted providing such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety.

Violation of these regulations are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.  

Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility, do your part, don’t let a wildfire start.