Updated Monday (July 16) at 12:30 p.m.: The fire hasn't grown since the U.S. Forest Service started monitoring it Saturday, thanks in part to some rains over the weekend, according to a Questa Ranger District official.
Officials with the Carson National Forest are closely watching a fire burning in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness about two miles east of San Cristobal.
The lightning-caused Lobo Fire was about 1/4 acre in size at about 1 p.m. Saturday (July 14), according to Questa Ranger District fire officials. Tiny wisps of smoke could be seen from Arroyo Hondo and surrounding areas Friday (July 13) evening and into Saturday. The Forest Service flew over the area Saturday morning to assess the situation.
"Fire managers will monitor the fire closely over the next several days due to the steep and inaccessible terrain," said a press release from the Forest Service. " Weather forecasts are predicting more rain in the week ahead so growth potential is expected to be minimal."
Smoke may be visible over the next few days from State Road 522, U.S. Highway 64, Questa, San Cristobal, Lama, and surrounding communities.
One of the last major wildfires to burn in the area was the Hondo fire in 1996, started by an escaped ember from a man burning trash near San Cristobal. The fire blistered across the landscape and through Lama, destroying 23 homes and structures and burning about 10,000 acres before it was contained.
While Taos County has had recent rains, it isn't enough to off set the drought. Carson National Forest is open, except for areas near the Sardinas Canyon Fire, but remains in Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibits open campfires. " Fire Danger is still rated as very high," said forest officials in a statement.
Some roads around the Sardinas Canyon Fire remain closed including Forest Road 76, off State Road 518, the La Junta Summer homes and the Duran and Upper La Junta campgrounds. Forest Road 442 at Gallegos Park is closed.
For more information on area fires, see nmfireinfo.com