Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Calf Canyon Fire threatening San Ignacio corridor, other communities

Kylee Moberg tries to get through a road block on NM94 to get to her friend and horses on Friday, April 22, 2022. Police blocked the road because of the Calf Fire burning near the area of ​​the Hermits Peak Fire. She was evacuated for a week after the Hermits Peak Fire started, then got to go home Monday and is now evacuated again. (Eddie Moore/)

The Calf Fire buring near northwest of Las Vegas in San Miguel County Friday, April 22, 2022. (Eddie Moore/)

The Calf Fire buring near Penasco Blanco in San Miguel County Friday, April 22, 2022. (Eddie Moore/)

San Miguel County Sheriff’s Officers patrol NM94 near Penasco Blanco as the Calf Fire burns near by Friday, April 22, 2022. (Eddie Moore/)

Fire officials issued a dire warning Friday about a blaze burning northwest of Las Vegas – expecting it to grow thousands of acres in one day and threaten multiple communities.

Ralph Lucas, an operations section chief with the fire incident management team, said the Calf Canyon Fire is currently at 3,000 acres but could exceed 13,000 acres with 50 to 70 mph winds. There is currently no containment on the fire.

“The winds are horrible, the fire is — we’re not able to fight it at all, air or ground, with winds like this,” San Miguel County manager Joy Ansley said. “We’re evacuating most of the northern part of our county, and southern parts of Mora County, so we’re very concerned … we do have some people who are refusing to evacuate.”

Officials urgently sent out mandatory evacuation orders for anyone in the San Ignacio corridor, Chaves, Pendaries Village, Cañoncito and everything to the north to evacuate immediately. Those orders increased to include Peñasco Blanco, South Carmen, Ledoux, Upper Murphy, Santiago Creek, Abuelo, Puertocito, Rio Cebolla, Buena Vista, east and west Las Tusas, Big Pine, Lone Pine Mesa, Rociada, La Canada, Sapello and Golondrinas .

“We expect the fire to reach – not maybe – to reach San Ignacio corridor and further, we need folks as a matter of life safety to pay attention to the evacuation orders,” Lucas said in a Facebook briefing. “… We may not even have the resources available to come and help you if you have not evacuated.”

He said the fire, based on modeling, is expected to move northeast, “which puts all of the communities above it in play.”

The blaze is expected to reach the Mora County line by 8 pm and Buena Vista by midnight, according to evacuation orders relayed by the National Weather Service.

Lucas said Friday was experiencing “very critical fire weather.”

“It’s extreme and if there was a level above extreme it would be at that level, but extreme is the highest,” he said. “… Please pass this on if you know of folks not getting this information – (who) may not have internet, might not be able to watch these,” he said.

Lucas said crews were initially successful at controlling the southern end of the fire on Thursday but winds escalated around 2 pm – fanning the flames to 3,000 acres and driving them north. He said without the proper resources and the level of danger they couldn’t put crews in to contain the blaze as it continues to grow.

Power has been shut down in the areas around Pendaries Village, Rociada, Manuelita, Cañoncito and County Road A3A, according to a joint press release from San Miguel and Mora counties.

Lucas said there are “a lot of unknowns” but things are expected to get worse.

“We are asking that people leave the area, for their own safety and the safety of the firefighters, that’s what we need,” he said.

Map of fires burning in Northwest New Mexico (Southwest Incident Management Team)

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