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Indios Fire not expected to grow more as firefighting efforts near completion

Map of the Indios Fire and Santa Fe National Forest emergency closure area as of June 9, 2024.
Courtesy U.S. Forest Service, Southwest Area Incident Management Team
Map of the Indios Fire and Santa Fe National Forest emergency closure area as of June 9, 2024.

The Indios Fire, which has been burning in the Santa Fe National Forest since May 19, is not expected to grow any larger, according to fire officials. As the fire dies down along with the complexity of the situation, command of the firefighting effort changed hands Monday from a regional team to a local one.

With the majority of objectives checked off, Operations Section Chief Lathe Evans said his Southwest Area Incident Management Team 4 has passed the baton back to the Northern New Mexico Incident Management Team.

“They were here first and we just followed along with their plan,” he said in a Facebook update over the weekend. “We’re a complex team and they just needed a little more muscle so to speak.”

The blaze has charred around 18 square miles in all, according to the latest update. Managers said that, beyond smoldering in some areas, the lighter fuels in the middle of the fire area have now burned up.

The fire is almost entirely contained, at 86%, according to the most recent figures. The only remaining area without control measures is along the north side of the burn area, according to the update. However, managers said they don’t expect the fire to grow in that direction because the area is rocky with little fuel.

Meanwhile, the southern and eastern sides have been "quiet," according to Southwest team, while crews continued road repairs on the westside over the weekend, including grading and erosion control.

“We wanted to kind of leave it better than we even found it,” said Evans in his final Facebook update on Sunday. “We did a lot of work in here, you guys will probably enjoy that when you come around.”

The Santa Fe National Forest’s emergency closure in and around the burn area remains in place for now.

Thunderstorms and cooler temperatures have helped firefighters’ efforts over the last couple days, though the National Weather Service in Albuquerque is forecasting warmer, drier days ahead.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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