Mesa Venado Fire grows to 250 acres

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By The Staff

 A fire burning on Mesa Venado started by a lightning strike has grown to 250 acres, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. The US. Forest Service  released its latest statement Saturday at 8 p.m. 

U.S. Forest Service law enforcement spent Saturday rounding up and evacuating visitors and day campers in the remote area. The U.S. Forest Service also closed off Fire Road 376 from the Gilman Tunnels to the intersection of FR 488 and FR 376. The forest is inaccessible from the south end of FR 376, but it is accessible from north end of FR 376. 

"The fire is active on all sides and there is potential for large growth tomorrow," U.S. Santa Fe National Forest Spokesman Bruce Hill said. 

According to Hill, the Black Mesa Hotshots from Arizona are coming in to battle the fire Sunday. One heavy air tanker and three single engine air tankers dropped fire retardant on the fire Saturday to improve the Hotshots' access to the fire. Also present on the scene are two fire engines, two utility vehicles, a 20-person Santa Fe Hotshot crew and a 20-person Hotshot crew from Arizona called the Aravaipa Hotshots. There are also 18 support personnel on the scene also. 

The fire is buring on Mesa Venado and an adjacent drainage area. It is approximately a mile and a half north of Deer Creek Landing and three quarters of a mile east of Joaquin Mesa. 

The fire may be visible from the Jemez Mountains, Santa Fe, Bernalillo and Interstate 25.