(Photo : InciWeb)
As wildfire season continues to bear down on the southwest, two major fires that have been burning in New Mexico are producing heavy smoke conditions, affecting the air quality of nearby communities.
The Jaroso Fire, sparked on June 10 at approximately 1:45 p.m., continues to burn 8 miles south of Truchas, N.M. The fire has already blazed through 11,141 acres, but fire personnel are increasingly gaining control and InciWeb reports that the wildfire is expected to be fully contained by Sunday, July 7 if progress continues as it has been in recent days.
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The fire is burning in the rugged, steep, deep canyons of the Pecos wilderness. Fueling the fire are mixed-conifer, and heavy dead and down, woody material with pockets of bug-killed trees. There may also be significant smoke impact from the Jaroso Fire in nearby communities, which may cause health hazards to the very young, very old and those with breathing issues. Extreme caution is reportedly advised.
While no structural losses or deaths have been reported yet, fire officials continue to identify values at risk and develop a protection plan in the Walker Flats area on the east side of the fire. Fire personnel, including the Pecos Canyon Fire Department, continue to coordinate structure assessments and evacuation planning in the Pecos River corridor.
Officials have indiciated several areas of concern from the fire's impacts on properties located to the south and east.
South of the fire, values at risk include the Jacks Creek Campground, Iron Gate Campground, Panchuela Campground and structures in Grass Mountain, Pecos Canyon Estates, Winsor, Cowles and the Panchuela area. To the east of the fire, values at risk include numerous structures in Maestas Canyon, Pendaries, Upper and Lower Rociada, Gascon, Camp Davis and structures along State Road 276 and Forest Service Road 60.
While no evacuations have been ordered at this time, it's advised that communities south and east of the Jaroso Fire should prepare themselves should evacuations become required.
Meanwhile, the Silver Fire, located in the vicinity of Kingston, N.M., has burned through 133,625 acres of land and as of Monday was at 50 percent containment thanks to the 696 fire personnel helping to battle the blaze.
According to InciWeb, the southwest side of the fire has been contained to the Raab Park Trail. Minimal fire activity remains on the east and south ends of the fire, but it continues to grow to the north, including the Reed's Peak vicinity. Crews will be monitoring the perimeter of the fire today.
Timber, including highly varied fuels ranging from dry, mixed conifer at high elevations, continues to drive the Silver Fire. Today fuels are expected to carry slower than previous days. Slower fuel carrying will possibly bring creeping and smoldering in the morning, then transition into low to moderate surface fire throughout the rest of the day.
The U.S. Forest Service reports that variable winds are expected near the Silver Fire today. Communities of Mimbers Valley and surrounding areas should expect smoke emanating from the fire throughout the day, depending on shifts in wind direction. Burnout operations may be utilized today on the west and northwest side of the fire in a bid to help reduce the fire's intensity. If this occurs, additional smoke may be visible along the north and northwest parts of the fire.