Favorable Weather May Slow Wildfire

Jun 30, 2014

Management efforts of the Diego Fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest near Abiquiu reservoir have been upgraded after the fire grew exponentially on Sunday afternoon.
Credit Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

Nearly 600 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to the blaze, which is burning eight miles south of the small community of Coyote in mixed conifer with many dead or downed trees.


UPDATE 7/1 7:15p: The Associated Press reports a raging wildfire in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains has grown to more than five square miles and is sending smoke 75 miles away toward Albuquerque.

Fire information officer John Helmich said the lightning-sparked Diego Fire burning nine miles southwest Coyote is still expanding and remained zero percent contained Tuesday.

The inferno is burning in mixed conifer forest with many dead or downed trees, and officials say groups of trees catch fire at a time.

The blaze on Monday made a run to the southeast, resulting in officers going door to door to ask residents of the sparsely populated area to evacuate.

Officials could not immediately say how many families were affected by the evacuations in the community of Jarosa and the surrounding area.


UPDATE 6/30 7:30p: Evacuations have been ordered for communities near the Diego Fire, including west of Coyote Canyon, Jarosa, Weatherall, and Dunlap Springs. KRQE-TV reports several structures have already been evacuated.


The first sightings of smoke from whatis believed to be a lightening sparked blaze burning in the Santa Fe National Forest appeared on the horizon last week.  The fire grew more then twelve times in size yesterday afternoon alone.

The first hotshot crews arrived this morning to fight the Diego Fire burning a few miles southwest of Coyote, near Abiquiu Reservoir.

Peter D'Aquanni is with the Type 2 Incident Management Team moving in tonight to manage the blaze.

He says it was so hot and dry on Sunday that when afternoon winds kicked up, the fire just took off burning through mixed conifer and aspen trees at a rapid rate.

"Resources were on the ground here yesterday.  They were starting to do some work," said D'Aquanni, "but [the fire] had a massive spread and it's a lot easier fighting an 80 acre fire than it is fighting a 1,000 acre fire."

There are 200 fire personal on the ground with more crews on the way.  Tonight, the team plans on doing the first flyover of the Diego Fire using infrared technology in order to map the blaze. 

So far no evacuations have been ordered and no structures are threatened.