Last Chance Fire Update

Friday, April 29th, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Summary: The high winds returned to the fire today but because of the exceptional work performed by the crews everything held and there was limited smoke visible from the fire. The transition of the Pecos Zone Team to a local Forest Type III Incident Commander will be conducted at 6:00 p.m. tonight.
The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that was established around the fire will be cancelled as of 8:00 p.m. tonight.
The Lincoln National Forest has put together a Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) team to evaluate the damage of the fire. They flew the fire this morning to get an overall view of the fire and start the process.

Objectives:
Crews will continue to patrol and mop up the fire perimeter for the next week and additional fire information can be obtained by calling the Guadalupe Ranger District at (575) 885-4181.

Fire Facts:
Acres: 53,342                                                           Containment: 90% Total Personnel: 70
Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass                  Terrain: Steep and Rugged
Resources: 2 crews, 5 engines, 1 water tender

CLOSURES:
Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (closed until further notice due to fire damage)

April 28th, 2011, 8:30 p.m.
Summary: Excellent progress on the fire was made today due to the hard work from firefighters, and more favorable weather then previous shifts; burnout operations were conducted today in the interior of the burn area to improve fire containment and smoke may continue to be seen in the area.
The Pecos Zone Type III will transition management of the fire back to the local Type III Incident Commander at 6:00 p.m. on Friday April 29, 2011.

Acres:53,342                                             Start Date: April 24th 2011
Cause:Under Investigation                      Location: 5 miles west of Queen, NM
Containment:70%                                     Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass
Terrain:Steep and Rugged                       Resources: 7 crews, 17 engines, 2 water tenders
Total personnel:253
Structures: 6 threatened (Queen Subdivision) 1 destroyed and 2 damage (Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area)
Jurisdiction:USFS, BLM, State and Private
Aircraft:Air Attack and one Type 3 helicopter continues to support the incident.

The local agencies would like the public to remember that they are in fire restrictions so please check the following website for additional information on area restrictions. http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/NM.php.

CLOSURES:
Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (closed until further notice due to fire damage)



Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, 8:30 p.m.
Summary: Excellent progress on the fire was made due to the hard work from firefighters, air resources, and more favorable weather then previous shifts; successful burnout operations continued last night until the relative humidity got too high. Moderate fire behavior was observed adjacent to HWY 137, so a firing operation was conducted around the USFS-Queen Admin Site to tie into existing blackline.
Objectives for tomorrow are to monitor any fire adjacent to HWY 137, continue structure protection for the community of Queen, monitor fire perimeter and extinguish hot spots, and contain fire at the head of Last Chance Canyon.

Acres: 49,140                                           Start Date: April 24th 2011
Cause:Under Investigation                    Location: 5 miles west of Queen, NM
Containment:60%                                   Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass
Terrain:Steep and Rugged                    Resources: 7 crews, 17 engines, 2 water tenders
Total personnel:252
Structures: 6 threatened (Queen Subdivision) 1 destroyed and 2 damaged (Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area)
Jurisdiction:USFS, BLM, State and Private
Aircraft:Air Attack, one Type 1 helicopter, one Type 3 helicopter and 2 air tankers

A FINAL public meeting was held tonight at the Queen Fire Department with fire officials to inform the residences of the days fire activity.

The road closures on HWY 137 and Dark Canyon Road have been lifted but we are asking the public to proceed with extreme caution when traveling these roads. There may be occasional smoke lingering or drifting over the roads which could cause limited visibility.

The local agencies would like the public to remember that they are in fire restrictions so please check the following website for additional information on area restrictions. http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/NM.php.

CLOSURES:
Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (closed until further notice due to fire damage)


April 26th, 2011, 9:30 p.m.
Summary: Excellent progress on the fire was made due to the hard work from firefighters and the 5 air tankers; successful burnout operations continued from last night and throughout the day today which helped secure the fire perimeter into existing roads (FS 277, 405 and HWY 137). Fire personnel used direct suppression tactics following air tanker drops to contain the fire and keep it from moving beyond HWY 137 and into the community of Queen.
A Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) has been ordered by the Lincoln National Forest to evaluate the damage that was caused by the fire.

Acres:40,000                                        Start Date: April 24th 2011
Cause:Under Investigation                  Location: 5 miles west of Queen, NM
Containment:30%                                Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass
Terrain:Steep and Rugged                  Resources: 7 crews, 17 engines, 2 water tenders
Total personnel:251                            Structures: 6 Structures threatened
Jurisdiction:USFS, BLM, State and Private
Aircraft:Air Attack, one Type 1 helicopter, one Type 3 helicopter and 5 air tankers

A public meeting was held tonight at the Queen Fire Department with fire officials to inform the residences of the days fire activity. Another meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow night at 7 pm.

The local agencies would like the public to remember that they are in fire restrictions so please check the following website for additional information on area restrictions. http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/NM.php.

CLOSURES:
Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (closed until further notice due to fire damage)
HWY 137 at 408
Dark Canyon Road at Hidalgo Road

The Carlsbad School District bus WILL NOT run from Marathon Road up to Queen tomorrow.


Sunday, April 25th, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Summary: Crews continued to work aggressively to secure the fire perimeter by conducting burn out operations on different sections of the fire. Last night’s burnout operations were very successful and helped secure the fire perimeter on Division D which is off the Sitting Bull Falls Road. The following road closures are still in effect:
– HWY137 at 408 (Dark Canyon Road) – State Police blockade
– Dark Canyon Road at Hidalgo Road
Also, the Sitting Bull Falls recreation area is closed to the public due the fire activity in and around the area.

Acres:23,793                                 Start Date: April 24th 2011
Cause:Under Investigation           Location: 5 miles west of Queen, NM
Containment:20%                         Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass
Terrain:Steep and Rugged            Resources: 6 crews, 16 engines, 1 water tenders
Total personnel:191                      Structures: 6 Structures threatened
Jurisdiction:USFS, BLM, State and Private
Aircraft:Air Attack, one Type 1 helicopter, one Type 3 helicopter and 5 air tankers

The increase in acreage was the result of a flight this morning that provided more accurate information on fire size and activity.

A Red Flag Warning will continue to be in effect through Tuesday and into the early morning hours of Wednesday; erratic winds and low relative humidity hampered fire suppression activities today. Multiple air tankers provided support around the Queen Administrative site during the afternoon when the fire flared up. Due to the flare up, 6 structures on the outskirts of the Queen subdivision was threatened but crews closely monitored the threat.

A public meeting was held this evening at the Queen Fire Department with approximately 25 residences in attendance. The Incident Commander informed the residences of today’s fire activities and explained what will be happening in the coming days.

The Carlsbad School District WILL NOT run the bus route from Marathon Road up to Queen tomorrow, so please contact the School Administration Office to let them know if kids are unable to make it to school.

Smoke from the fire will continue to impacted the community of Carlsbad and surrounding areas so please take precautions if you have any health or respiratory issues. For more information, visit NMED’s website, http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb/Wildfire-PM.html, and the DOH website http://www.health.state.nm.us/.

Monday, April 25th, 2011, 02:15 a.m.
Summary: The fire is actively burning in steep, rocky, inaccessible terrain in the Guadalupe Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest but has burned onto Bureau of Land Management (BLM), State and Private lands. Two air attackers worked the fire for most of the day but due to the extremely gusty conditions their efforts were unsuccessful. The fire started near Forest Service Road 525A, and has burned north and east across HWY 137 and along Dark Canyon Road. The fire grew rapidly during the day due to extremely gusty winds with gusts up to 55 mph. Structure protection is being conducted around 2 structures that were evacuated and the following roads have been closed:
– HWY137 at 408 (Dark Canyon Road)
– Dark Canyon Road at Hidalgo Road

Fire personnel are using both direct and indirect suppression tactics to contain the fire and keep it from moving further north and east. Extreme fire activity has been observed on the entire fire perimeter as of late this evening.

Health Advisory: Smoke from the fire is impacting the community of Carlsbad and surrounding areas so please take precautions if you have any health or respiratory issues.

A public meeting has been set for Monday, April 25th at 6:00 p.m. at the Queen Fire Department for all concerned community members.

Acres: 10,000                                         Start Date: April 24th 2011
Cause: Under Investigation                 Location: 5 miles west of Queens, NM
Containment: 0 percent                       Fuels: Pinon juniper, brush and grass
Terrain:Steep and Rugged                   Resources: 2 crews, 15 engines, 2 water tenders
Total personnel:120                              Structures: 3 Structures threatened and 2 Evacuated

Pecos Zone Type III Incident Management Team (Tudor IC) took over management of the Last Chance Fire as of 8:00 p.m. on 4/24/2011. Additional resources have been ordered and will be assigned to the fire as they arrive. The Last Chance Incident Command Post (ICP) has been set up at the USFS Queen Administrative site on HWY 137.


Pictures courtesy of: Jennifer Myslivy – Pecos Zone Team PIO
For further information, see www.nmfireinfo.com/.