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Fire watch: Wildfire breaks out, causes evacuations near Pagosa Springs; Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Megafire breaks 300,000 acres

Wildfires rage across the west as dry conditions continue to worsen
Fire season continues to accelerate as the west burns at an alarming rate.
Fire season continues to accelerate as the west burns at an alarming rate.(Sedona Fire District / Twitter)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:58 AM MDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 11:27 AM MDT
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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - Wildfire season continues to accelerate as exceptionally dry conditions and high winds make fires difficult to control. Fire danger for much of the southwest and Four Corners region remains high to extreme, with some sections of northern Colorado and Arizona ranging from low to high fire danger.

Fire danger in Mesa County is high, but there are no fire restrictions in effect.

Active wildfires that may contribute to hazy conditions in Mesa County are as follows:

The Plumtaw Fire, seven miles north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The fire is currently roughly 600 acres and is currently uncontained. The fire began on Tuesday afternoon, and the cause is currently under investigation. Management teams have been deployed, but full crew numbers are not yet listed. Evacuations are in effect for the Lost Valley of the San Juans neighborhood.

The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The megafire is currently 301,971 acres and is 34% contained. It began on April 6, and was caused by a prescribed burn spreading out of control. A total of 1,958 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. Evacuation orders are in place for most of the surrounding area. Fuel remains dry due to persistently low humidty, high temperatures, and strong winds. Typical understory plant life is described by the incident commanders as “nonexistant” due to worsening drought conditions. Overnight thunderstorms did not produce measurable precipitation, and conditions are not expected to improve at the current time.

The Cooks Peak Fire, north of Ocate, New Mexico. The fire is currently 59,359 acres and is 97 percent contained. Fire personnel project full containment by May 28. It began on May 13, and was human-caused. A total of 69 personnel are assigned to the fire. No evacuation notices or orders are in effect.

The Cerro Pelado Fire, seven miles east of Jemez Springs, New Mexico. The fire is currently 45,605 acres and is 74% contained. Fire personnel project full containment by May 21. It began on April 22, and the cause is unknown. A total of 824 personnel are assigned to the fire. No evacuation notices or orders are in effect.

The Black Fire, 24 miles north of Mimbres, New Mexico. The fire is currently 56,132 acres and is projected to be contained by May 31. It began on May 13, and the cause is undetermined. A total of 141 personnel are assigned to the fire. Evacuations were ordered from some surrounding wilderness areas.

The Bear Trap Fire, 22 miles southwest of Magdalena, New Mexico. The fire is currently 17,122 acres and is 28% contained. Fire personnel project full containment by May 31. It began on May 1, and the cause is undetermined. A total of 667 personnel are assigned to the fire. No evacuation notices or orders are in effect.

The High Park Fire in Teller County, Colorado. The fire is currently 1,573 acres and is 68% percent contained. It began on May 12, and the cause is unknown. A total of 432 personnel are assigned to the fire. Pre-evacuation notices are in effect for Cripple Creek Ranches.

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