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Las Conchas Wildfire – Day 4 — Why Now?
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Las Conchas Wildfire – Day 4

Las Conchas WildfireAnother jump in the size of the fire, but some of that is attributed to backfires to stop the spread of wildfire, and to protect assets like the Los Alamos National Laboratory. There has been a large increase in the assets assigned to the fire.

The number one ‘guess’ as to the cause of the fire is a downed power line near Las Conchas. More fires may start today caused by lightning from storms in the area. The rain, if there is any, doesn’t prevent fires when the forests are as dry as they are. We have lost structures to fires during hurricanes with the rain coming down in buckets.

Information from the current Las Conchas Wildfire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 6/26/2011
  • Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35, New Mexico
  • Cause: Unknown – under investigation
  • Size: 92,735 acres [145 miles² 375 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 3%
  • Injuries to Date: 0
  • Residences: 13 destroyed; 3 damaged
  • Commercial Property: 3 damaged
  • Outbuildings: 2 destroyed
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 752 including 7 hotshot crews and 14 hand crews
  • Equipment: 4 dozers, 28 engines
  • Aircraft: 5 helicopters
  • Incident Commander: Dan Oltrogge, Area Command Team 1

As of 6 a.m. today, Area Command Team 1 (Dan Oltrogge, Area Commander) assumed command of the both the Las Conchas and Pacheco Fires. As of 6 a.m. today, an additional Type 1 Incident Management Team (Dugger Hughes, Incident Commander) assumed command of the south zone of the Las Conchas fire. The Los Conchas firefighting efforts are divided into two zones: Rienarz’s Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) will manage the north zone of the fire and Hughes’s Type 1 IMT will manage the south zone. Crews are dealing with extremely dry fuels and potential threats from thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes.

North – Long-range spotting along the north end of the fire continued throughout the day. Firefighters also scouted for potential fire line and burnout opportunities, including aerial ignition on peaks to moderate fire activity by backing the fire downslope. Tomorrow firefighters will continue to watch for spotting and hold the fire line using mop-up tactics.

The northeastern perimeter of the fire grew today; however, firefighters are assessing methods to funnel the fire from spreading.

East – Firefighters were successful in holding the fire line along NM Hwy 4. Tomorrow firefighters will continue to work the fire line along the highway through Bandelier National Monument. Firefighters are working with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to prevent the fire from spreading on to the lab.

South – Firefighting efforts in the southern part of the fire were successful today thanks to favorable winds. Efforts were also supported by lighter fuel types, which curbed the fire from spreading.

West – Firefighters were successful in holding the fire line along the western perimeter. Firefighters will continue to monitor the northwest side for the fire along NM Hwy 4.

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]