The Luna Fire burning about 16 miles southeast of Taos in rugged canyons near the community of Chacón, New Mexico was downsized to 8,898 acres Friday morning (Oct. 23) after infared aerial mapping.

The fire had been estimated by fire managers at 10,500 acres on Thursday.

The cause of the fire, which began Saturday night (Oct. 17) after people from the area and all the way to Taos reported seeing a flash and then a sudden burst of flames around dusk. A total of 274 personnel are working the fire, which remains zero percent contained, according to an update from fire officials Friday morning.  Resources being used on the fire include six hand crews, nine engines, seven dozers, four helicopters and two water tenders. Air tankers are on standby to use as needed. 

Structures threatened: A total of 4,350 structures - which can include houses, barns, well houses, sheds and more - are listed as threatened under a worst case scenario on the fire update from the Carson National Forest. 

Management: California Incident Management Team 5 arrived to assume command of the firefighting efforts. "Team 5 is grateful for all of the support it is receiving from local fire and law enforcement personnel and the surrounding communities," according to a statement.

The winds predicted in the area Thursday were not as strong as expected, primarily affecting the northern perimeter of the fire in the Rincon Mountains, according to the update. 

Firefighters will focus today on protecting structures in Luna, Lujan and Bull Canyons by building more fire containment lines and monitoring for hot spots.  "Firefighters will also continue building containment lines on the east and west flanks of the fire using dozers, helicopters and airtankers," according to the fire update. "Fire activity is expected to increase in Bull and Frijoles Canyons as winds return to a southwesterly direction."

Closure: The Carson National Forest has issued a temporary closure order prohibiting the public from entering the area around the Luna Fire. All Forest Service lands, roads and trails are closed to public entry, including hunters. 

 Smoke Outlook: According to the Friday morning update, weather and the condition of trees and brush in the area "will lead to heavy smoke production along the north edge of the fire particularly in the afternoon. Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Cimarron, Springer and other communities east and northeast of the fire could experience periods of moderate smoke. It is unlikely that smoke from the Luna fire will impact Taos or Santa Fe today."

Agencies cooperating on the fire:  Picuris Pueblo Tribe, Taos Pueblo Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Sandia Pueblo Tribe, Sierra Bonita Rincon Fire Department, State of New Mexico County Fire Administrator, Angel Fire Department, Colfax County Fire, Colfax County Emergency Operations Manager, Taos County EMS, Taos County Fire, Taos Canyon, Rio Fernando District, Village of Chacon, Kit Carson Electric Co-op, Mora County Sheriff, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Livestock Inspector, Colfax County Sheriff, Taos County Sheriff, New Mexico Game and Fish, Angel Fire Police, Mora San Miguel Electric Co-op, New Mexico Dept of Transportation, Tri-State Electric, Black Lake Community, Black Lake Ranch, Luna Canyon Cattle Company, Black Lake Cattle Association, Luna/Chacon Cattle Association.

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(1) comment

Rene Howard

What are you trying to say about the cause of the fire? The beginning of the third paragraph doesn't make sense.

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