Summary: The Hermits Peak Fire began April 6 as a result of the Las Dispensas prescribed fire on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest. Although forecasted weather conditions were within parameters for the prescribed fire, unexpected erratic winds in the late afternoon caused multiple spot fires that spread outside the project boundary. It was declared a wildfire at approximately 4:30 p.m. on April 6, 2022. Named the Hermits Peak Fire, the wildfire began approximately 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM at the base of Hermits Peak in the Pecos Wilderness. The Hermits Peak Fire is burning through mixed conifer in steep, rugged terrain that poses challenges for firefighter access.
On May 15 the fire was divided into three zones and an IMT was assigned to each zone. This brings additional resources and management capabilities across the large fire area to implement a full suppression strategy for the Calf Canyon and Hermit Peak Fire.
Evacuations:Please go to tinyurl.com/HermitsPeak for the evacuation map or follow:
San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office: facebook.com/smcso.nm
Mora County Sheriff’s Office: facebook.com/moracountysheriffoffice
Taos County Sheriff’s Office: facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064642843163
Colfax County Sheriff’s Office: facebook.com/Colfax-County-Sheriffs-Office-New-Mexico-971817152850308
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064737934118
Burned Area Emergency Response: Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists are currently assessing multiple soil properties that changed during the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires. the BAER program is designed to identify and manage potential risks to resources on National Forest System lands and reduce these threats through appropriate emergency measures to protect human life and safety, property, and critical natural or cultural resources. More information is available at Hermits Peak & Calf Canyon BAER News Releases - InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov).
The USFS does not have authority to assess or recommend treatments to private property owners; however, we share our analysis, data and findings with local, state and other federal agencies that have that authority to help private landowners Post-Fire Resources for NM Private Land Owners - InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov).
Carson National Forest, Camino Real Ranger District closure order and map: fs.usda.gov/alerts/carson/alerts-notices.
Santa Fe National Forest Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District closure order and map: fs.usda.gov/detail/santafe/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprd3802009.
BLM - New Mexico Fire Restrictions https://tinyurl.com/BLMNewMexico.
Aviation / Drone Restrictions:The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) and any private aircraft or drone that violates the TFR could face serious criminal charges. For more information on drones the public can visit theFAA’s website at www.KnowBeforeYouFly.org. “If you fly, we can’t!”
Fire Information Office Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM | Phone: 505-356-2636
|Current as of|
|Cause||Multiple Spot Fires Spread Beyond The Prescribed Fire Project Boundary|
|Date of Origin||Wednesday April 06th, 2022 approx. 04:51 PM|
|Location||12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM|
|Incident Commander||SWA Team 1 and Team 3, ICs Carl Schwope and Dave Gessar - CA Area Team 2, IC Nickie Johnny|
|Coordinates||35.718 latitude, -105.399 longitude|
|Percent of Perimeter Contained||41%|
South Zone: Short Grass, Hardwood Litter, Timber(Litter & Understory).
Fuels remain atypically dry due to ongoing severe drought exasperated by persistently low humidity, high temperatures, and
strong winds. The fire has been growing primarily through Ponderosa pine and true-fir timber stands with a significant amount of dead and downed fuels in the understory. Green-up in
grass is nearly nonexistent due to extreme drought.
West Zone: Timber (Grass & Understory), Closed Timber Litter, Timber (Litter & Understory)
- Fuels are extremely dry with 1hr fuels 3%, 10 hr at 3%, 100 hr fuels at 2% and 1000 hr fuels 8%. Fuel loadings in the Closed Timber Litter and Timber models are exceptionally high, with all fuels available to burn. All fuels are being consumed.
East Zone: Timber (grass understory), closed timber litter, timber (litter & understory). Fuels are extremely dry from severe drought, low humidities, high temperatures, and strong winds.
Active, Group Torching, Single Tree Torching, Short-range Spotting
South Zone: Active Fire Behavior, Short Crown Runs, Flanking, Spotting
Narrative: South Zone fire activity is primarily on the western flanks of the Sangre de Cristo range. Warm, dry, and breezy SW winds are providing sustained fire activity with continued increase in burned acres on the west side of the South Zone. Fire activity on the eastern portion of the South Zone is limited to very minimal interior and isolated heat sources that pose little threat to control lines.
West Zone: Active Fire Behavior Group Torching, Single Tree Torching, Short Range Spotting. Today's observed fire behavior consists of single/group tree torching, roll out with slope reversal and spotting (.15 miles)
East Zone: Smoldering and creeping fire behavior observed. Interior pockets of fuel continue to consume, well into the interior of the fire, and rollout may challenge containment lines
Patrol and mop-up any heat that has a potential to threaten containment lines. Backhaul hose, garbage and any unneeded equipment. Look for opportunities to go direct when applicable. Identify potential contingency line. Continue chipping operations in Indian Head Ranch. Continue firing operations from 203M Road south towards 83 Road as needed based on fire spread. Continue firing operations along 82A south towards 83 Road as needed based on fire spread. Prepare for firing operations from the 203 M Road north to Bull Creek. Continue indirect line prep from H25 to Bull Creek Drainage. Prepare for firing operations from H25 to Bull Creek. Construct line from DP-731 to County Road 63 along the 646 Road. Construct line from Mora Campground to Iron Gate Campground. Construct line from DP-66 to DP-25. Scout and prep Hamilton Mesa Trail from Iron Gate Campground to Hamilton Mesa Locate, triage and prep all structures. Provide structure defense in Upper and Lower Colonias, the Pecos River corridor and all other threatened communities.
Branch 20 - Patrol direct line N of Martinez Pond in Div K south to tie in with dozer line. Improve road system from Penasco to Ripley Point along the Bear Mountain Road to allow for heavy equipment access to tie into the SW corner of the fire near Comales Cutoff. Continue direct line construction along the active perimeter west of Angostura (4 more for days, 3 IHCs). Secure the thumb of fire W of Dozer line tie in (3 more days, 2 IHCs) Hotspot and cold trail the fires edge South past the serpent lake trail to the one break (3-4 days, 4 IHCs). Aggressive aerial suppression efforts directly along the fires edge will be used in coordination with crews and mechanized equipment to secure this edge. Patrol and mop up fire south of the Chacon along the 120 corridor where fire has backed down to the dozer line.
Branch 25 - Continue fuels removal along the northern community protection line from Highway 518 to Highway 76. Begin dozer line construction South to the Luna fire scar. Begin construction of contingency line along the Amole-Gallegos-Sardinas-Luna ridge.
Work with the communities in the East Zone of the fire. East zone will continue to identify values at risk and address concerns from the community and cooperators. Develop evacuation zones in coordination with the other zones and continue to communicate and coordinate progress. Coordinate with other Incident management teams with resources and strategies. Continue to monitor Division VV slop-over and evaluate. Continue with constructing indirect contingency lines ins Divisions O/O, L/L and T/T. Lend or reassign resources to right-size our organization. Assist Resource Advisors with suppression repair efforts and support with suppression repair plans and maps. Continue to prep around structures and efforts for indirect line construction in and around communities for protection.
|Projected Incident Activity|
South Zone: Given the current warming and drying trends, portions of the fire are expected to remain active through the burn period and into the evening. The threat of late day/evening thunderstorms may produce gusty outflow winds and additional ignitions. Southwest winds today are providing favorable conditions for suppression actions generally. Wind and slope alignments are contributing to areas of active fire behavior in the Bull Creek drainage, Ruidoso Ridge, and Apache Canyon areas west of Upper Colonias. Conditions are favorable for active fire spread on the slopes, with wind alignment to the northeast resulting in additional acres. Smoke flow to the northeast is expected to increase today, with the possibility for limited column development. Firing operations are likely to produce an observable increase in smoke over the area today. A late evening frontal passage, with winds transitioning to north, will be diminishing by morning. Potential down slope winds may produce an accumulation of smoke in the Pecos Valley.
West Zone: Fire near Angostura has reached SR 518. Spot fires to the southwest of the Agua Piedra Campground on SR 518 continue to occur up to .10 miles out. When enough spots occur they burn together by slope reversal. Fire south of Tres Ritos has been spotting downslope, with the spots burning back to the main body of the fire. Fire at Romero Lake
has stayed within containment lines with noticeable reduction in heat. Spot fires are still being found and suppressed. Fire in the Chacon Corridor continues backing downslope towards SR 121.
East Zone: 12 hours: Active burning conditions expected, rollout will continue to challenge containment lines. Fire will likely continue to spread as fuels are extremely dry and receptive. Wings will be 16 mph with gusts of 25 mph and a 20 percent chance of lightning. Crews will continue to go direct where possible.
South Zone: The forecast shows warming, drying, increasing clouds, and winds returning to a southwesterly flow. Added threat of scattered late morning/early afternoon thunderstorms that may provide a dynamic fire environment due to gusty outflow winds and potential new ignitions. Good nighttime humidity with less than critical daytime dryness will sustain moderate-to-active burning conditions - although thunderstorms and resulting outflow winds could produce erratic and rapid fire spread. Southwest winds in the fire area will produce flanking fire with some upslope torching and short-range spotting in the Cow Cr. and Bull Cr. areas, and other areas on the west facing slopes. Slightly improved relative humidity, partly cloudy sky, and southwest winds will provide moderated fire behavior potential, with favorable conditions for operational missions . A southwesterly wind pattern will result in continued up-drainage and upslope spread of any unchecked perimeter from previous day(s). Active fire behavior including moderate rates of spread on slopes, torching with spotting, and short crown runs may be expected. Potential for observable column development, and increased acreage due to portions of the fire with unchecked fire perimeter. Potential smoke in the lower drainages overnight into the morning hours.
West Zone: The passage of another cold front will maintain cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and less winds. Threat of thunderstorms will increase with outflow winds and potential lightening. Lower-level winds will come out of the south, southeast while ridge top winds will be more southerly. Fire will spread north to SR 518 by roll out and corresponding up slope runs. The fire south of Agua Piedra Campground burning midslope will have shot range spotting (.10 miles) with slope reversal. Fire at Romero Lake has stayed within the containment lines and continues to show a reduction in heat as crews and aircraft mop up.
East Zone: 24 hours: Active burning conditions expected, rollout will continue to challenge containment lines. Fire will likely continue to spread as fuels are extremely dry and receptive. Crews will continue to go direct where possible and the probability of ignition is 60-65%. There is a 50% chance of strong thunderstorms.
South Zone: The fire area will resume a period of warming and drying, with lighter southwesterly winds and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Good night time humidity recoveries but near critical daytime dryness will produce active-to very
active burning conditions. Southwest winds in the fire area are likely to result in active backing and cross-slope flanking fire. Up-slope torching spread with short range spotting is possible in the Cow Creek, Bull Creek, and other areas on west facing slopes. A diminishing chance of thunderstorms may produce outflow winds and erratic fire behavior.
There is potential for smoke settling into the lower Pecos Valley during the early morning hours.
West Zone: Fire behavior will begin to increase as weather gradually warms up in conjunction with declining relative humidity and increasing temperatures. Single/group tree torching, roll out and some short duration runs are possible.
East Zone: Active burning conditions expected, humidity will be dropping. Rollout will continue to challenge containment lines. Fire will likely continue to spread as fuels are extremely dry and receptive. Crews will continue to go direct where possible and the probability of ignition is 70-90%.
South Zone: An accelerated warming and drying trend with increasing SW wind conditions are likely to result in critical fire weather conditions. Forecast conditions may produce very active fire behavior potential with rapid fire spread with high intensity behavior on slopes with torching and spotting on unchecked portions of the fire.
West Zone: Fire behavior continues to increase as weather enters a period of Critical Fire Weather conditions with high winds, low relative humidity and increasing temperatures.
East Zone: Active burning conditions expected, humidity will be dropping. Rollout will continue to challenge containment lines. Fire will likely continue to spread as fuels are extremely dry and receptive. Crews will continue to go direct where possible and the probability of ignition is 80-90%.
Anticipated after 72 hours:
South Zone: Continued critical fire weather conditions are ripe for very active-to-extreme fire behavior. We are expecting high temperatures, single digit humidity, unstable atmosphere, and very gusty SW winds. There exists a potential for rapid rates of fire spread, high intensity fire behavior, and periods of large fire growth due to forecasted conditions.
West Zone: Critical Fire Weather stays in place with winds and temperatures increasing and relative humidity decreases. Fire behavior will increase.
East Zone: Anticipated after 72 hours: Active burning conditions expected, humidity will be dropping. Rollout will continue to challenge containment lines. Fire will likely continue to spread as fuels are extremely dry and receptive. Crews will continue to go direct where possible and the probability of ignition is 80-90%
A cooler and more unsettled pattern took hold today. Morning humidity recoveries
were excellent once again, although they did drop into the 17-30% range during the
afternoon. Shallow elevated convection produced brief and localized yet strong gusts
between 35 and 45 mph over the fire in the afternoon. Winds will turn northerly this
evening as a front moves through the area, and remain so overnight, with increasingly terrain-driven winds.
Additional elevated convection or thunderstorms will be possible overnight between
2100 and 0300. On Tuesday, there will be a renewed slight threat of thunderstorms
early to midafternoon. Wetting rain is unlikely, and the main threat will be erratic
outflow winds with the possibility of a few lightning strikes. Prevailing winds Tuesday will largely return to a more typical southwesterly direction.
Monday 05/23/2022 Today's Observed as of 1500: Widespread cloud cover has been
observed over the fire today, limiting the solar heating to the surface. Winds are
breezy, and generally out of the west-southwest direction, 10-15 mph with gusts to
25 mph, and locally higher over wind-prone areas. Max temperatures were in the low
60s to near 70s with minimum relative humidity values in the 17-26% range.
Tuesday's Forecast: Temperatures will be cooler on Tuesday after the passage of the
backdoor cold front. Winds will be breezy and out of the northwest direction 10-15
mph with gusts 25 mph. Winds will shift to the NNE around noon. Minimum relative
humidity values will be in the 28-36% range. Isolated thunderstorms are possible
again, with a LAL of 2. The Haines will be a 5.
Outlook - Wednesday: Overall warmer and drier with mostly sunny skies. Daytime high temperatures will be in the upper 50s-mid 60s. Minimum relative humidity values will be in the 17-22% range. Winds will be out of the west-northwest, 12-18 mph with gusts to 25 mph. The Haines will be a 5.
Cloudy skies across the fire zone kept most showers from developing during the
afternoon. Lighter winds remained across the east zone during the afternoon, with
only an occasional gust near 20 mph during the late afternoon. Cloud cover was not
enough to limit daytime temperatures, which recovered into the mid to upper 60s.
Another cold front is expected from the northeast Monday night, bringing colder temperatures and a round of light rain and snow. Overall accumulations will remain
light, with some light accumulation possible for the higher elevations.
Tuesday: Colder temperatures will hold firm across the region, with highs struggling
into the 50s. Some shower activity is expected during the day, with isolated thunder
still expected. Accumulations are expected to remain low.