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| New Wildfire Starts in Coyote Ranger DistrictNM Fire Info

Santa Fe National Forest Fire managers respond to Indios Fire

Santa Fe, NM, May 20, 2024– Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) firefighters were notified around noon on Sunday, May 19, of a new wildfire in the Coyote Ranger District, approximately 7 miles north of the village of Coyote, NM in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness . A fire investigator will confirm the cause, but lightning was observed in the area. Firefighters were unable to safely extinguish the fire due to the steep and inaccessible terrain. Firefighters have spent the past few days scouting roads and gaining access to the fire area to locate possible lines of control. The Northern New Mexico Type 3 Team has been assigned to manage the Indios Wildfire. The safety of firefighters, protecting values ​​at risk and complying with the SFNF forest fire land management plan are the main objectives of the incident.

A helicopter flew over the fire boundary on Monday morning (May 20) and estimated the area at 150-200 hectares. Wildfire resources include 1 helicopter and 3 engines, with additional resources on the way. The wildfire is most active on the northeastern side and is burning in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness, where no threats currently exist to people or property. Smoke may be visible in the area along State Road 96. There are potential impacts to some recreation sites in the Coyote Ranger District, namely the Continental Divide Trail.

Fire managers are evaluating a variety of management strategies for the Indios wildfire, which could range from complete suppression to managing the fire to restore its natural role in the ecosystem while meeting resource objectives across the landscape. Wildfire management decisions are based on several factors, including firefighter safety, terrain, weather forecasts, past prescribed fire units and vegetation management projects in the area, and threats to public safety and property. The fire is burning within the Rio Chama Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project, an ecosystem restoration project that includes 3.8 million acres of forestland and multiple properties in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. “Forestfires have the potential to reduce fuel consumption and increase the health and resilience of forests. Fire is a natural and frequent part of the area’s ecosystem, and our team will look for opportunities to restore forest health when conditions allow,” said Forest Manager Shaun Sanchez.

Updates will be provided on the SFNF website, NM Fire Info, Inciweb and SFNF social media pages (Facebook and X).

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