Diego Fire NM Grows to 1,000 Acres

The Diego Fire, burning in the Jemez Mountains southeast of Coyote, grew to an estimated 1,000 acres Monday, but no structures have been lost and there are currently no evacuations, reports the Albuquerque Journal.

A New Mexico multiagency Type 3 fire management team will take control of the fire at 6 p.m., replacing a Type 2, said Santa Fe National Forest fire information officer Dolores Maese. The Type 3 group brings more resources to bear on the blaze, she said.

A public meeting to inform area residents on the fire is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Coyote Elementary School gym. The fire is burning on national forest and now private land nine miles southeast of Coyote. The lightening-caused fire was discovered last week. Smoke from the fire was clearly visible Sunday from Interstate 25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and residents reported the smell of smoke in Santa Fe as the plume drifted north.

“It was a very, very active fire day yesterday,” said Maese. Gusty winds are expected at the fire this afternoon, she said. “They (fire fighters) are being very vigilant about the weather and changes in the weather,” said Maese.

About 200 people are involved in fighting the fire and are supported by about six air tankers and a couple of helicopters. The fire has closed several roads including at the intersections of Forest Roads 103 and 93, north of the Rio Puerco Campground. On the south side of the fire public access is closed at the intersections of Forest Roads 103/316 and 103/315.

The fire that had been burning in the Jemez Mountains since June 15 grew from a 107 acres to 750 acres on Sunday, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Winds caused the Diego Fire to grow, and Sunday night it was burning slightly more than a square mile. The fire is about seven miles southwest of Coyote, said Matt Heckel, a BLM spokesman.

One permanent home and several seasonal homes were evacuated Sunday, he said. Several forest roads in the area have also been closed.

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