SANTA FE, NM – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest completed operations on the Peggy Fire on the Jemez Ranger District over the weekend, using a lightning strike on July 18 to return beneficial fire to the fire-adapted landscape on Peggy Mesa approximately 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels.
Crews strategically added fire to the ground over a 12-day period, expanding the low- to moderate-intensity fire to 886 acres. Objectives for managing the Peggy Fire included:
- mitigating the risk of high-intensity destructive wildfires by reducing excess fuels, including fuelwood slash and bug kill in the piñon/juniper and heavy dead/down fuel accumulations and reduction of tree densities in the ponderosa pine
- providing point protection for historical and cultural sites
- improving forest health, wildlife habitat and range conditions
Crews created mosaic burn patterns and a mile-wide fuel break that reduce the potential for high-severity fire in an area at high risk based on the terrain and prevailing winds. Crews also capitalized on the Peggy Fire’s proximity to blocks previously treated with prescribed fire to further mitigate the wildfire risk. The long-term benefit will be a healthier and more resilient forest.
The Peggy Fire was managed with firefighter and public safety as its top priority. Crews, which included the Jemez Eagles and the Santa Fe County Black Canyon Hand Crew, reported no injuries or accidents.
The Peggy Fire is in monitor status, and crews will continue to patrol the perimeter and monitor interior fire activity. The fire received precipitation over the weekend, and monsoonal weather patterns are expected to continue.
Visible smoke should diminish with minimal impacts to the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures. Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website: https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information on the Peggy Fire, contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575.829.3535.