Yesterday, suppression efforts were focused on strengthening containment lines and extinguishing hot spots from Quemado Canyon to Lujan Canyon. In the afternoon, west winds increased fire activity in Bull and Frijoles Canyons producing a lot of smoke which could be seen from Black Lake and Angel Fire. Air tankers and helicopters were used in Bull Canyon and the Rincon Peak area to slow the spread of the fire and to keep it from moving toward the structures in Bull Canyon. The fire increased 1,238 acres, mainly on the northern perimeter.
Today, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for strong, gusty, erratic winds over the fire area which will cause increased fire activity, especially on the northern perimeter where it is burning in a continuous stand of mixed conifers. Firefighters will continue holding and strengthening containment lines from Quemado Canyon to Lujan Canyon and building direct (at the fires edge) and indirect line (away from the fires edge) along the east and west flanks of the fire. Due to limited access on the northern perimeter, fire personnel are scouting areas to build and construct containment lines.
How close is the fire to my community? The Fire is burning 2 miles from Chacon, 15 miles from Mora, 5 miles from Guadalupita, 4.5 miles from Sierra Bonita, 3.5 miles from Black Lake and 9.5 miles from Angel Fire.
Virtual Public Meeting: Tonight, October 24, 2020, the Luna Fire Incident Command team will host a Virtual Public Meeting at 7:00 PM to provide a Luna Fire overview and to allow the public to ask questions about the fire. The meeting will be live streamed on the Carson National Forest Facebook @CarsonNF. If you have a question and would like to have it answered during the virtual public meeting, please submit it as a comment of the Facebook page.
County Road B-001 Re-opening to Property Owners Only: As of Saturday October 24, 2020, County Road B-001 (Luna Canyon Road) off of Highway 121 (Chacon) will be reopened to citizens who reside or own property off of the road. Citizens will need to provide proper documentation (physical address, property taxes, etc.) showing they have permission to access the area. Law Enforcement officials will continue to be stationed on County Road B-001 conducting these verifications.
Weather: A Red Flag Warning has been issued for today for strong winds over the fire area. In the afternoon, ridge tops winds will be 25-30 MPH with gusts to 40 MPH. Relative humidity will be 17-20% and temperatures will range from 54-60 degrees.
Evacuations: A Voluntary Evacuation Notice has been issued for the Luna Canyon area.
Fire Restrictions: The Forest is very dry; conditions are similar to what you might see in June not late October. Because of this, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions have been implemented on the Carson National Forest to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires. For more information on fire restrictions visit www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/carson/alerts-notices.
Fire Closures: The Carson National Forest has issued a temporary closure (Forest Order 02-484) prohibiting the public from entering the area around the Luna Fire, including all National Forest System Lands, roads and trails affected by the fire. This closure includes access for hunting. For more information on the fire closure visit www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/carson/alerts-notices. A Temporary Flight Restriction over the fire remains in place.
Smoke Outlook: Today’s weather and fuel conditions will lead to heavy smoke production along the north edge of the fire particularly in the afternoon. Communities to the east and northeast of the fire including Angle Fire, Ocate, Cimarron and Springer could experience periods of moderate smoke from early afternoon to late evening. Mora and Guadaluptia may experience early morning heavy smoke but should be clear in the afternoon.
Safety Message: Due to additional fire traffic, please slow down and watch your speed on roads around the Luna Fire Area.
Ready, Set, Go!: Wildfires can burn at any time, as we have seen with the Luna Fire, requiring firefighters and residents to be on heightened alert to respond to these emergencies. The Ready, Set, Go! Program works in collaboration with New Mexico’s Living with Fire and other existing community wildland fire education efforts to help residents prepare for a wildfire emergency. For more information on wildfire prevention and how you can prepare for wildfires, visit www.wildlandfirersg.org.
Cooperating Agencies: Picuris Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Sandia Pueblo, Sierra Bonita Rincon Fire Department, State of New Mexico County Fire Administrator, Angel Fire Fire Department, Colfax County Fire, Colfax County Emergency Operations Manager, Taos County EMS, Taos County Fire, Taos, Village of Chacon, Kit Carson Electric Co-op, Mora County Sheriff, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Livestock Inspector, Colfax County Sheriff, Taos County Sheriff, New Mexico Game and Fish, Angel Fire Police, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Dept of Transportation, Mora San Miguel Electric Co-op, and Tri-State Electric.
Carson National Forest Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNF
Carson Forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/carson/home
New Mexico Fire Information: https://nmfireinfo.com/
Updated information @ 12:30pm 10-24-2020 Two road closures are now in effect: Highway 76 is closed at Highway 518 & Luna Canyon and Road 121 is closed, although residents are allowed to go in to winterize their residences (be prepared to show proof of residency).
Angel Fire Fire Department Update
Today’s cooperators meeting had 50 participants. The operations division feels confident in their fire containment lines on the south end of the fire by Luna & Lujan Canyons. The northwest edge of the fire is pushing in on itself , they continue to create more dozer lines and are confident there is no threat to the west at this time. The north side “looks good” as the fire seems to be flanking itself.
The Fire will probably move a little to the northeast today. There are several personnel and dozers in bull canyon and hand crews are busy containing spot fires in that area. The obvious issue today is the wind moving the fire east. However, higher winds do not necessarily mean rapid fire spread because the lower temps and higher winds don’t allow the fuels to retain heat and actively burn. The fine fuels like grass and leaves also cannot burn in this wind—think of trying to start a camp fire in the wind, it’s pretty difficult.
The fire is 7% contained on the south end. Today’s humidity is 17-20%, winds are 25-30 with gusts of 45 mph Sustained ridge line winds at 27mph. The weather is evolving but we are expecting a winter storm watch beginning at noon tomorrow with precipitation or snow at 5pm. Angel Fire/Moreno Valley is now forecast to receive 8-12” of snow with the mountain peaks receiving 12-18”. We should see single digit temps Monday and warming back up to 35-45’ by Thursday.
The fire has increased by about 1200 acres and currently sits at 10,136 acres burned. The Fire behavior specialist says the wind will push on the north fire line and East to Bull Canyon but there really isn’t a lot of fuel in Bull Canyon so it will burn in a mosaic pattern and as mentioned earlier there are a lot of personnel working in that area to stop spot fires. There is less intense heat on the periphery and the fire has been described as consuming the dead/down but not really spreading.
There’s a public meeting tonight at 7 PM that will be broadcast on the Carson National Forest Facebook page. (See information below)
Currently there are 327 personnel on the fire including: 6 hand crews, 11 engines, 9 dozers, 3 helicopters, and 2 water tenders.
The distance of the fire to all of our communities has not really changed from yesterday. The fire management team did not express any major concerns today considering all of the factors involved. Please remain vigilant and please know that there is no immediate threat to our communities. If you are feeling overwhelmed or overly stressed, it’s ok to go ahead and relocate for a couple of days. You can keep up with the updates from another location.
Chief John Murtagh
Angel Fire FD