Extreme weather and dangerous conditions on the Hermits Peak Fire
April 22, 2022, Daily Update, 10:00AM
Acres: 7,573 acres
Start Date: April 6, 2022
Cause: Multiple spot fires spread beyond the prescribed fire project boundary
Total personnel: 264
Location: Approx. 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM, Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District, Hermits Peak/Pecos Wilderness
Fuels: Mixed conifer
Highlights: The National Weather Service has issued an extreme weather warning. The public is encouraged to stay vigilant on evacuation status through the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office and be prepared to leave in a rapid manner. Due to extremely high winds, powerlines and trees may block egress in many areas. Roads will likely become congested with traffic leaving the area, and smoke will make it difficult to see. Use extreme caution on the roads.
Operations: Yesterday, crews continued working on suppression repair and control lines on all sides. Today the combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will contribute to extreme fire behavior. The conditions will be very dangerous today with the extremely high wind event, and the priority is safety of the firefighters and the public. There could be downed trees or powerlines and road blockages. Crews will safely reduce ignitions and remove trees from roads for firefighters and the public with safety as the number one priority.
Evacuations: The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office has issued mandatory “GO” evacuations as of 8:00 am Friday, 4-22-22. Due to the severity of the conditions, everyone in the area should be prepared to evacuate. The evacuation status and road closures are currently being assessed by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, using the Ready, Set, Go! system. Stay tuned and alert for updated details on evacuation orders on the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/smcso.nm.
Weather: There is a High End Red Flag Warning from 9am to midnight with winds predicted in the 60-74 mph range. Temperatures will be in the upper 70s and very dry. The inversion is predicted to lift up and give higher winds the ability to come straight down. Late morning gusts should peak in the afternoon but gusts of 50-60mph are still possible up until midnight.
Restrictions: The Santa Fe National Forest has issued a closure order to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Hermits Peak Fire. The full closure order and map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/santafe/home. The Santa Fe National Forest implemented Stage II fire restrictions today at 8:00 am. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place, which includes unmanned aircraft, or drones. The TFR has been expanded to include the area around the Calf Canyon Fire. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found at: www.nifc.gov/drones.
Smoke: Smoke impacts in the area will occur in the late evening hours due to wind changes from the west. High winds and blowing dust will cause reduced visibility on roads. Areas north of the fire will see smoke increasing later in the day. Moderate to Unhealthy to Sensitive Groups conditions will continue. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
Future Fire Information: The Hermits Peak Fire Information office hours are 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The phone number for fire information is 505-356-2636. The email address is email@example.com. Future fire information will continue to be posted on Inciweb, the SFNF Facebook and Twitter, SFNF website, and New Mexico Fire Information website