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Fire moves south, officials respond with management upgrade VIDEO ADDED

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By Tris DeRoma

Firefighter officials discovered the Thompson Ridge Fire did two major  things Sunday. It almost doubled in size, and stopped going east and instead moved in a southerly direction.

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 Fire officials responded by upgrading the fire’s management team from the  Type 3 Santa Fe Taos team that had been managing it since it broke out Friday. It was replaced by the Type 2 Arizona Central West Zone Team.

According to the ACW’s Fire Information Officer, Lori Cook that is normal procedure whenever a wildfire grows in complexity and size.

“When a fire gets to a type 3, like this fire, there was a type 3 team managing it. But when it became more complex and we were going to have evacuations and structures are threatened, when it became too much for management to handle, then they brought in a type 2 team, that’s us, ” she said. “They knew it was going to grow substantially, and they needed more people to support it.”

 During a Sunday afternoon press conference, officials said the fire grew on all sides Saturday, due to low humidity and dense dry fuels. However, firefighters did manage to establish a firebreak to protect homes and other structures along the western edge of the fire.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, that line is still holding, according to officials.

“As of today... there is a dozer line and a handline that the fire crews put in yesterday,” said Everett Phillips, an operations section chief trainee for the ACW said. “We’re in the process of burning that out at this time and make it secure around the homes.” He added the plan is to lure the fire out and check it around Redondo Creek.

“That will give the other crews time to get out ahead and come up with a good solid plan to fight this fire.”

 Phillips also noted the fire moved south Saturday night, and they are currently establishing crews to deal with that threat too.

“Off to the north, in division Alpha...Yesterday we had pretty much a northwest wind that blew it toward the east (toward Los Alamos) but today, we had more of a southwest component today, so the fire is wanting to push more toward the north. We have crews on the VC 08 Road prepping to see if we can get out ahead of this thing,” said Phillips to the audience.

The Incident Command has also been moved from Winter Road to Fenton Hill, but since fire officials were in the middle of moving there, they had no immediate updates or comments about the move.

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