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Slight Increase in Fire Behavior on Cueva Fire

By SFNF

Outflow winds from a thunderstorm increased fire behavior on the Cueva Fire on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF), adding an additional 108 acres and moderately increasing smoke to the west and south of the fire.

The SFNF took advantage of the lightning-caused Cueva Fire to add low-intensity fire to the ground to reduce fuel loadings and create a more fire-resilient landscape. Ignitions within the planning area ended one week ago on Aug. 15. In the interim, the Cueva Fire has effectively reduced accumulations of woody debris, returned nutrients to the soil and made room for new grasses and shrubs.

Start date: August 6, 2019

Cause: Lightning

Location: French Mesa, located on the north end of the Coyote Ranger District, adjacent to Forest Road 8, north of Gallina

Size: 1,149 acres

Fuels: Primarily ponderosa pine and pinon-juniper

Resources on scene: 2 New Mexico State Forestry IWC crews, Coyote Ranger District fire personnel

Current status: Crews will continue to monitor the fire’s progression to the west within the planning area.

Weather: Partly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon, winds out of the southwest at 10-15 mph and temperatures in the 80s. A warming and drying trend will continue through the weekend with monsoonal patterns expected to reappear next week.

Predicted smoke impact: A moderate increase in smoke dispersed to the north-northeast of the fire, with potential impacts to Rio Gallina and Rio Chama. Smoke may also be visible from US Highway 112 and Highway 96 as well as the communities of Lindrith, Llaves, Abiquiu and Gallina.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com,www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF. For additional information about the Cueva Fire, please contact the Coyote Ranger District at 575-638-5526.

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