Crews working on Diego Fire

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It’s not a wildfire here, but the effects are more than a little noticeable for residents of Los Alamos and Jemez Springs.

The Diego wildfire that has now consumed approximately 1,000 acres about 8 miles south of Coyote filled western sky with smoke Monday that could be seen billowing over the mountains and filling the air with its undeniable smell.

The smoke was considerably worse in Jemez Springs, with one resident telling the Monitor that it’s thick enough to force people to keep their windows closed.

The wildfire became noticeable in Los Alamos on Sunday, leaving some concerned that the area was again in the line of yet another wildfire, which is about a one hour and 20 minute drive from here.

On Monday, the fire grew from several hundred acres to 1,000, according to a news release from Santa Fe National Forest. Overnight infrared mapping was expected to more accurately determine its exact size, according to the news release.

There is no estimated containment time, the release said.

Firefighters are using a range of equipment to battle the blaze, including Hotshot crews, helicopters, six engines and several water tenders.

The fire was initially reported on June 15 and because of location of the fire, low fire activity and firefighter safety, it was being managed using a confined strategy. 

The fire became more active on June 28 and Sunday with torching, running and spotting up to a half-mile. The fire has progressed on to private land. Structural protection resources are on scene and there are no reports of loss of structures and no evacuations at this time.

On Monday, the fire made a run to the southeast, which has led to the evacuation of the small community of Jarosa. An evacuation shelter has been set up at the Rural Event's Center in Abiquiu.

Road blocks were in effect on Forest Road 93/103, 103/116, and 115; N.M. State Police officers were on-scene handling that aspect.

According to this morning’s release, crews worked overnight to tie in some roads on the eastern edge of the fire, creating buffer for interior pockets of fuel that could experience extreme fire behavior today.

Bulldozers are being used to create containment lines on the southern portion of the fire along Jarosa Canyon to Forest Road 93 and Guardia spring west of FR 103.

Crews will be scouting for fireline construction opportunities, securing anchor points for containment lines, conducting structure assessments for protection, and will be utilizing direct suppression tactics where possible.


Incident Name: DIEGO   


Start Date & Time: Detected on June 25, 2014  

Start Location: Coyote Ranger District, SFNF

Cause of Fire: Lightning

Area Vegetation: Mixed Conifer, Timber

Acres Burned:approx. 3425

Ownership(s): Federal, State

Incident Commander: Richard Nieto

Structures Threatened: 50-60 (including residences, barns, sheds and other outbuildings)

Structures Burned: 1, RV camper

Evacuations (Y or N & #): yes - The communities of Weatherill Estates, Dunlap Spring, West Dunlap and Jarosa have been evacuated.  


% Contained: None reported

Temperature: 80-87 degrees

Relative Humidity: 12-17%

Wind Speeds: 8-14 mph gusts of 24

Wind Direction: South-southeast in the AM moving to West-northwest in the PM

Condition of Fire: Expected extreme fire behavior with Haines index of 6

# of Engines: 6  - Additional engines will be added today.

# of Bulldozers: 3

# of hand crews: 10

# of helicopters: 3

# of air tankers: 1

# of water tenders: 2

Total # of Personnel: ~290