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Dog Head Fire Almost Entirely Contained

UPDATE Wednesday, 29, 11:00 a.m.: The Dog Head Fire is 91 percent contained. A total of 12 residences and 44 minor structures have been damaged. The U.S. Forest Service says the wildfire was human-started, but they are still investigating how it happened.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Bernalillo County Emergency Communications Center has denied the Journal’s public records requests that could have information on when the Dog Head fire was first reported.  There were unconfirmed reports that efforts to contain the fire were slow.

They’ve got more firefighters then they need, so some crews will be sent home. Remaining crews continued to work on east perimeter dozer line yesterday. The north and west borders of the fire are unstaffed. The fire is not expected to grow. 

UPDATE Friday, June 24, 10:30 a.m.: Bernalillo County is warning people in the East Mountains that they could have to leave their homes again if storms kick up. "Summer rains after a major forest fire can make a bad situation worse, and we want people to be prepared to leave quickly," Commissioner Wayne Johnson said in a news release. The state Forestry Service is recommending people downhill of the fire get flood insurance. 

The Dog Head Fire is 83 percent contained 10 days after it started. Rainfall and humidity last night on parts of the fire helped. Work today will focus on securing the East side of the fire and patrolling the perimeter, according to the incident info site.

UPDATE Thursday, June 23, 11:30 a.m.: Aceves Road is open to residents. Rainfall helped keep the fire down, and it's expected to smolder today. It's 68 percent contained and expected to continue to smolder today.

The shelter in Torrance County will close down today at 4 p.m., according to the Joint Information Center. Unclaimed pets can be found at the Torrance County Animal Shelter (505-384-5117). Unclaimed livestock will remain at the Fairgrounds under the care of the state's Livestock Board (505-250-1609). 

The state's Construction Industries Division is warning people whose houses were affected by the fire to be wary of unlicensed or unqualified contractors. People can call CID to find out whether a contractor is licensed. Santa Fe: 505-476-4869   •   Albuquerque: 505-222-9801   •   Las Cruces: 575-524-6320

UPDATE Wednesday, June 22, 5 p.m.: The Tijeras shelter for evacuees and their animals has closed, according to the Dog Head Fire's Joint Information Center. Representatives from Sen. Tom Udall's office will be in the Torrance County Administration Building (205 Ninth Street, Estancia) at 10:30 a.m. to talk FEMA assistance for people whose property was damaged in the fire.

The National Interagency Fire Center is reminding people not to fly their drones over the fire, as this interferes with firefighting aircraft. 

UPDATE Wednesday, June 22, 10:30 a.m.: People are mostly able to return to their evacuated homes today, and PNM is working to restore power. Aceves and La Para Roads have not yet been cleared, and La Jara remains under a "soft closure," according to KOAT. Call any of these five hotlines for evacuation and road info: 855-620-1747  •  855-620-1746  •  855-615-5195  •  855-615-5196  •  888-308-3120

To pick up any animals you dropped off in Bernalillo County to be sheltered during the evacuation, call 505-468-7387. Bernalillo County is also offering tips for people returning home.

The fire is 61 percent contained, burned almost 18,000 acres and was human-caused, though it's still under investigation. The fire is expected to smolder tonight, and firefighters will on the lookout for any flare-ups and hotspots. 

UPDATE Tuesday, June 21, 10:30 a.m.: The Dog Head Fire has grown to 17,891 acres but is now 46 percent contained. Authorities declared that the fire was human caused and are still investigating. A community meeting is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at Roosevelt Middle School.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office started limited re-entry of residents beginning at 8 a.m. this morning. Evacuees who live in Torrance County south of La Para, will be allowed to return to their homes as well. Evacuations will remain in place for the area north of La Para, east and west to the Torrance County Line. PNM began activities to restore power beginning at 6:00 a.m.

UPDATE Monday, June 20, 10:30 a.m.: Firefighters are working today to hold the fire's perimeter, and the East side of the fire will likely be the most active, according to the incident overview. Humidity this weekend helped briefly with the fire, which has burned about 18,000 acres and is 9 percent contained.

Bernalillo County has declared a state of emergency, which should allow the county to access federal emergency funds. KRQE reports that evacuated areas are still too hot for residents to return, and people north of the fire are preparing to evacuate if the fire heads in that direction. Donations are rolling in for evacuees. A Facebook group has been set up for folks contributing to relief efforts. 

There's a meeting tonight at the East Torrance County Water Conservation District (715 Main Street, Estancia) at 7 p.m.

More fire update resources: 

• @dogheadfireinfo on Twitter

• Incident Information System page for the Dog Head Fire

• N.M. Department of Health on smoke hazards statewide

UPDATE Friday, June 17, 5 p.m.: For the latest evacuation information, you can contact the Bernalillo County Joint Information Center:

• 855-615-5195

• 855-615-5196

• 888-308-3120

• A map of the mandatory and voluntary evacuation areas is posted to the official Dog Head Fire Facebook page

Evacuation centers are located at in Estancia at the Torrance County Fairgrounds (for people, pets, and livestock) and in Tijeras at the Los Vecinos Community Center.

For general fire information: 

• 855-585-5547

• 855-585-5546

• 855-581-3862

• 855-581-3861.

• More information is also available at www.nmfireinfo.com

UPDATE Friday, June 17, 9 a.m.: The wildfire grew to 16,000 acres last night and is 6 percent contained, according to KOAT. There haven't been deaths or injuries, but homes and other structures have burned. Gov. Susana Martinez is asking that people not ignore mandatory evacuations. The National Guard has put 40 soldiers on the ground to knock on doors and make sure folks have evacuated

The fire is consuming power lines, and power is being cut along Highways 55 and 337.  Residents who've been forced to evacuate can attend either of two public meetings today: 4:30 p.m. at Roosevelt Middle School in Tijeras (11799 South Highway 14) or 7 p.m. at the East Torrance Soil & Water Conservation District Complex in Estancia (Building 700 on 10th Street).

KOB's offering a list of contacts and resources.

UPDATE Thursday, June 16, 3:30 p.m.: Five ranchers in Torrance County are safe after trying to herd their cattle away from the fire. The fire, which started Tuesday afternoon, is still not contained. KOB reports that federal funds from FEMA will cover 75 percent of the cost of fighting the fire, including shelters and evacuations. The Mountain View Telegraph is offering a list of community resources.

UPDATE Thursday, June 16, noon: The fire has spread to more than 12,000 acres, according to KOB. And the state has issued a smoke advisory throughout central New Mexico. Gov. Susana Martinez has declared a state of emergency and put the National Guard on standby. Five Torrance County ranchers are missing after trying to round up their cattle near the fire.

UPDATE Thursday, June 16, 9 a.m.: The fire grew overnight, covering 2,000 acres, and it's still uncontained. Highway 337 is closed from the junction of state Highway 55 to NM-17. According to online maps, the fire may have crossed Highway 337.

There are mandatory evacuations from the junction of state Highways 217 and 337 in Bernalillo County south to the Torrance County line, including the communities of Chilili, Mercid, Escobosa and Yrisarri. Call the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office at (505) 798-7000 for evacuation information.

Voluntary evacuations are recommended from the Torrance County line south to Highway 55 and from Highway 337 to the west. For information about these evacuations contact the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office at (505) 544-4727.

UPDATE: Wednesday, June 15, 3:30 p.m.: The Dog Head Fire is still growing as of Wednesday afternoon and has burned nearly 700 acres. The weather is hot and windy, helping the fire grow. Thursday and Friday will be less windy, but temperatures will stay high. Dry conditions are projected to continue for the next several days. Live updates are available from the official Dog Head Fire Facebook page.

According to KRQE, fire officials recommend voluntary evacuations for:

• Chilili

• South Camino Del Rey

• La Parra

• Aceves Road

• Manzano Morning Subdivision

Residents and their animals can evacuate to the Torrance County Fairgrounds at 647 8th St., Estancia or Los Vecinos Community Center at 478 ½ Old Highway 66, Tijeras.

A meeting to update the community will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at Torreon Community Center.

A temporary phone center (505-346-3870) has also been set up by the U.S. Forest Service to provide information about the fire between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

For Horse Owners:

Walkin N Circles ranch offered to temporarily house horses threatened by the wildfire. On their Facebook page they said, "If you need help, call Ruth at 505-310-1479 or Steve at 505-228-5788. We will give you instructions about bringing your horses to our facility in Edgewood temporarily until the danger has passed. We can also help trailer your horses."

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.