NEW MEXICO FIRES – May 6th, 2022

New Mexico Fires

A detailed fire update for May 7th is available here:
https://nmfireinfo.com/2022/05/07/hermits-peak-and-calf-canyon-fires-4/

May 6th, 2022 – Ryan Stephens

  1. Weather Update
  2. Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire
  3. Cerro Pelado Fire
  4. Bear Trap Fire
  5. Cooks Peak Fire
  6. Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire Severity

*Our Lookout fire maps are high resolution. Click the maps to open them in a separate window, there you can zoom and scroll around the map to get a closer look. This is especially helpful to know while viewing our maps on cell phones.

May 6th Overview of the New Mexico Fires. Hermits Peak / Calf Canyon, Cerro Pelado, and Bear Trap fires continue to grow. No change on the footprint of Crooks Peak fire in the past 24 hours and containment has grown to 97%.

Weather Update

A historic wind storm is on the horizon. Wind is a major influencer in fire behavior. Firefighters doing everything in their power to contain a fire have no control over weather conditions.

During the Santa Fe National Forest’s May 5th daily update, the Incident Meteorologist warned that the upcoming weather event beginning Saturday and lasting well into next week could be “historic”. Not particularly because of the wind speed, though we expect to see gusts upwards of 60 mph beginning Sunday, but because of the duration of the event. Winds are expected to be relentless and continuous for at least 120 hours straight. The high winds will start in Saturday, pushing from the northwest. But by Sunday, the wind will shift and primarily be coming in from the southwest, directing fire spread to the north and east of the fires.

The Santa Fe National Forest posted a video today of the Hermits Peak Incident Meteorologist talking specifically about the weather yesterday, today, tomorrow and beyond. You can watch the video here.

Our weather outlook for today May 6th is relatively favorable. This will give firefighters and civilians one final day to prepare for the upcoming wind storms. It’s important to note that wind events such as what we’re about to experience may cause debris, downed power lines, or trees to fall in the roadways and impede evacuations. Please take this into account BEFORE evacuations are ordered.

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque has offered an ominous discussion regarding the upcoming series of storms. You can read that discussion here.

Conservative estimates of potential spot fire spread in 50-60 mph wind is in the neighborhood of one mile. That means the fire has increased potential to rapidly progress beyond containment lines in the direction of the wind. It is especially important to consider the surrounding terrain during wind events, particularly when winds are “in alignment” with natural features such as canyons and slopes. A sustained wind event such as what’s forecasted has the potential to deteriorate wildfire conditions rapidly – and that’s putting it mildly.

High winds expected throughout the state will start in on Saturday, initially out of the northwest and eventually shifting to the southwest for the remainder of the weekend and into next week. This shift is critical to take note of and will create unpredictable conditions over the New Mexico fires. Wind combined with high temps and extremely low humidity with poor RH recovery overnight will set the stage for some very dangerous fire weather conditions to come.

According to US National Weather Service Albuquerque New Mexico – “Dangerous & potentially historic fire weather conditions are expected this weekend into the middle of next week. A prolonged period of high winds & dry conditions will make our bad situation worse. Take this seriously. Have a plan in place in case of evacuation.”

“A prolonged period of windy conditions is still upcoming starting Saturday through at least the middle of next week. This is bad news as ongoing fires or new ones will have the opportunity to spread rapidly. Be on high alert, and have a go bag in case of evacuation. #NMwx #NMFire pic.twitter.com/JhTv4UQXAl

— NWS Albuquerque (@NWSAlbuquerque) May 5, 2022A persistent pattern of very dry, windy, and warm weather is expected for several days next week. Residents should remain on high alert and be ready to heed evacuation orders at a moment's notice.Winds will only strengthen areawide starting Saturday.

 


Calf Canyon\Hermits Peak

Data for our maps was taken from the infrared flight over the Hermit Peak fire at 2215 hrs last night.

Overview of Calf Canyon\Hermits Peak fire looking north:

MAP KEY: RED perimeter line to WHITE perimeter line shows fire growth in the past 24 hours. ORANGE fill shows intense heat signatures from infrared flight over the fire, this is where the fire is most active. YELLOW fill shows scattered heat, this is where the fire is cooling down. Areas on the map where the RED and WHITE lines overlap is where the fire is generally considered to be less active.

Overview of the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire.

WIth a system of potentially historic wind events expected to blow in out of the west-southwest, our sights are focused on the east and north sides of the fire.

Be the wind: the following maps walk you around the fire and give you a “winds eye view” of where the fire could potentially push once wind shifts towards the northeast on Sunday.

Calf Canyon / Hermits Peak Fire: Starting on the south east side near Las Vegas. There was little change to the perimeter of the fire in the past 24 hours. This map takes a look toward Las Vegas as if you are the wind. Imagine winds in this image blowing from bottom to top. Note the intense and scattered heat signatures in the hills to the Southeast. In the center left of the image along the eastern perimeter of the fire, is an unburned area near Hot Springs and Montezuma. Because of infrared heat in the area, combined with heavy fuels and alignment with the upcoming wind events, this looks to be an area of particular vulnerability.

 

Calf Canyon Hermits Peak Fire: Looking northeast over the fire toward Cleveland / Holman and the surrounding river valley, we see scattered heat signatures in the hills to the south and west above town. Long range spotting of up to a mile is possible during this prolonged series of wind events. As we see in this map, the densely forested hills North of Cleveland and the 518 is approximately 1.22 miles from current scattered heat signatures and have potential to receive embercast from high winds. Also worthy of note is the area on the left of the map to the west and south of the 518. Here we see potential for the fire to continue to flank to the north and get pushed northwest by alignments of canyons and wind.

 

Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire: At the north end of the fire looking southwest directly into the upcoming winds. Potential canyon wind alignments are seen at the top of the map above the fire. The intense heat areas shaded dark red at the top of the map are densely forested and in very difficult terrain. Firefighters have had a hard time accessing this portion of the fire and this may be something to watch out for in the windy days ahead.

 

Today’s Calf Canyon\Hermits Peak Operations Map:


Cerro Pelado Fire

Overview of Cerro Pelado fire looking north:

MAP KEY: RED perimeter line to WHITE perimeter line shows fire growth in the past 24 hours. ORANGE fill shows intense heat signatures from infrared flight over the fire, this is where the fire is most active. YELLOW fill shows scattered heat, this is where the fire is cooling down. Areas on the map where the RED and WHITE lines overlap is where the fire is generally considered to be less active.

Cerro Pelado Fire overview.

 

Cerro Pelado Fire: Looking north at the north end of the fire. The area of most critical concern with the upcoming wind. The Valles Caldera National Preserve is seen on the north side if Highway 4. Grassland here could spread fire rapidly. The forested areas of Cerro Grande and Pajarito Mountain are seen to the northeast and sit between the city of Los Alamos and the fire.

 

On the north end of the Cerro Pelado Fire, looking southwest into the upcoming wind. For visual reference, Los Alamos is seen in the lower left of the map, approximately 7 miles from the Cerro Pelado fire.

Bear Trap Fire

Overview of Bear Trap fire looking north:

MAP KEY: RED perimeter line to WHITE perimeter line shows fire growth in the past 24 hours. ORANGE fill shows intense heat signatures from infrared flight over the fire, this is where the fire is most active. YELLOW fill shows scattered heat, this is where the fire is cooling down. Areas on the map where the RED and WHITE lines overlap is where the fire is generally considered to be less active.

Bear Trap Fire overview.

Cooks Peak Fire

Overview of Cooks Peak fire looking north:

MAP KEY: RED perimeter line to WHITE perimeter line shows fire growth in the past 24 hours. ORANGE fill shows intense heat signatures from infrared flight over the fire, this is where the fire is most active. YELLOW fill shows scattered heat, this is where the fire is cooling down. Areas on the map where the RED and WHITE lines overlap is where the fire is generally considered to be less active.

Cooks Peak Fire overview.

Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire Severity

As of 5/3/2022, the Hermits Peak Fire had burned with a wide range of severities. Some areas that burned under more severe winds and heat conditions burned with high severity, killing all of the trees. These areas are shown in red colors. Areas with green still have some living foliage, and many trees may survive.

 

Thermal satellite images show areas on the south side of the Calf Canyon / Hermits Peak Fire which were actively burning on Tuesday 5/3, as well as places which burned with lower severity (darker blue).

 

Thermal satellite images show areas on the north side of the Calf Canyon / Hermits Peak Fire which were actively burning on Tuesday 5/3, as well as places which burned with lower severity (darker blue).

*** END NEW MEXICO FIRES UPDATE