Venado Fire now at more than 1,000 acres

July 24, 2018

A lightning-caused fire in the Jemez Springs area more than doubled in size from Sunday to Monday, growing to 1,071 acres.

The Venado fire in the Mesa Venado area north of Deer Creek Landing is in a remote area with no structures at risk, said Bruce Hill, a spokesman for Santa Fe National Forest.

Some 120 firefighters were on the ground Monday morning and about 30 more were on their way. In all, four Hotshot crews are in the area.

A single-engine air tanker dropped fire retardant, but the fire grew in all directions, Hill said.

People in the area who are especially sensitive to smoke should take necessary precautions, he said.

A chance of rain is in the forecast, but firefighters are not counting on it.

The Venado fire is not the only one burning in New Mexico.

A 450-acre fire in the Aragon Spring area, east of Gallina Peak and west of the Rio Chama, caused an evacuation of personnel Monday afternoon. Hill said this fire was caused by lightning on July 12 but is being treated as a prescribed burn. A maximum burn area of 817 acres has been set.

Hill said the Sarca fire in the Pecos wilderness area, ignited July 7 by a lightning strike, grew from 10 to 40 acres Sunday.

Smoke seen east of Española on Sunday came from the Sarca fire, he said. “It’s basically creeping,” Hill said. “It’s not gaining like other wildfires.”

Operations for the Hidden Valley fire in Valles Caldera concluded on Monday. This 585-acre fire on South Mountain was contained.

Valles Caldera spokeswoman Brittney Van Der Werff said smoke will linger and personnel will continue to monitor the area.

“Until a significant rain occurs, they’re going to be up there,” Van Der Werff said.

Because of projected thunderstorms this week, Hill said, lightning could cause more fires.

The National Weather Service said there was an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms in the Jemez Springs area Monday night. A portion of northern and central New Mexico was under a flash flood watch Monday evening, including the Jemez Springs area.

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