Two wildfires broke out in the northern Santa Fe County community of
La Puebla on Sunday evening, causing electricity to be cut off to some
homes and other residences to be evacuated.
The first, called the Rio Vista Fire, began about 6 p.m. with a
vehicle that caught fire for unknown reasons at a residence near Rio
Vista Run and Santa Fe County Road 88B.
The car fire quickly spread to about 3 acres in the bosque on both
sides of the Rio Santa Cruz near Camino de Flores, where it reportedly
was crowning in cottonwood trees.
A state Forestry Division spokesman said residents in a 2-mile
radius were being advised to head south and that roadways in the area
were expected to be congested.
John Wheeler, a public information officer for the Santa Fe County
Fire Department, said five residences were evacuated. He said county
animal-control officers were removing some dogs from the residences.
Fifty firefighters from various jurisdictions responded and "had a good handle" on the Rio Vista Fire by 8:30 p.m., he said.
About 8 p.m., however, a second fire, dubbed the Alamo Fire, was
reported about two miles away near Calle Alamo, causing most of the
firefighters to be shifted to the second site.
The Alamo Fire's origin is unknown, but by 9:30 p.m., it had grown
to about 3 acres and was threatening five structures, Wheeler said.
"We're going to have to cut power to a few houses out here," he
said. "It looks like [electric power transmission lines] are going to
Wheeler said he didn't know how many residences would be without power, but he said the outage was likely to last overnight.
Hot and dry conditions have made much of New Mexico a tinderbox.
Calmer winds Sunday night were helping firefighters contain the La
Puebla wildfires, but Wheeler cautioned New Mexicans to be
"hypervigilant" of wildfires, at least until the summer rains begin.
Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Forest Division spokesman Dan Ware wrote in an email earlier Sunday evening:
"Crews from Santa Fe County are responding to a 2+ acre fire in the bosque near Chimayo, NM. Evacuations have been reported in the area, possibly for a 2 mile radius around the fire. No shelter information has been released at this point, but residents are being told to head south. Expect congested roadways in that area. Crews report the fire is crowning in the cottonwood trees."
Here is the information fact sheet sent out by Ware at 7:30 p.m.:
- Start Date & Time: 6/24/12 at 19:00
- Start Location: MM 6 Road 76, Chimayó area, Rio Arriba county line
- Cause of Fire: Unknown
- Area Vegetation: Bosque, dense salt cedar undergrowth
- Acres Burned: 2+
- Ownership(s): Unknown
- Structures Threatened: Yes
- Structures Burned: Unknown
- Evacuations (Y or N & #): Yes, 2 mile radius of fire
- Situation: Crews from Santa Fe County are responding to a 2+ acre fire in the bosque near Chimayó, N.M. Evacuations have been reported in the area, possibly for a 2 mile radius around the fire. No shelter information has been released at this point, but residents are being told to head south. Expect congested roadways in that area. Crews report the fire is crowning in the cottonwood trees.
- Percent contained: n/a
- Temperature: 90 degrees F
- Relative Humidity: 6 percent
- Wind Speeds: 6 mph gusts to 12
- Wind Direction: SSE
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