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Thompson Ridge Wildfire keeps growing

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Fire still far away, but be aware of your surroundings, officials say

By Tris DeRoma

 As the amount of burned acres keeps growing in the Thompson Ridge Fire, the Los Alamos Fire Department continues a vigilant watch on what’s happening in Sandoval County, and urges residents to do their part, too.

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The majority of officials involved in managing the fire say it’s unlikely it will reach Los Alamos, mainly because of the burn scar from the Cerro Grande Fire. There’s at least 20,000 acres between the eastern edge of the fire and the Cerro Grande burn scar. However, due to the hot dry and windy conditions, they are also saying it’s still a good idea for Los Alamos residents to be aware. Fires are never predictable, as has been seen in the last few days with Thompson Ridge.

 “What we need from our folks from Los Alamos is for them to be extra vigilant,” said LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider. He noted that people will need to be extra vigilant, since cloud cover tends to obscure lightning strikes and new fires. “Keep your eyes to the horizon, and report any smoke (excluding that from the Thompson Ridge Fire) you see,” he said.

He also said those with asthma and other breathing problems need to be careful too. “Stay indoors, keep your windows closed and manage your respiratory issues appropriately,” Grider said.

As for the wildfire itself, fire officials are using intelligent strategy to fight the fire.

“Given the expected fire behavior, the dense, historically dry fuels and the steep, rugged terrain, firefighters are unable to conduct a safe direct, attack,” said officials in the latest update. “For this reason, firefighters will prepare the lines along the roads within the Valles Caldera north, east and south of the fire,” they said.

Evacuations are still in effect for the Thompson Valley, Rancho de La Cueva and the Elk Valley.