San Cristobal fire to be ‘managed’ by monsoons

Smoke from the Lobo Fire burning a couple of miles from San Cristóbal. (Photo by David Montoya, The Taos News)
According to today’s update from USDA Forest Service officials, the lightning-caused Lobo Fire — burning about 2 miles east of San Cristobal on the Questa Ranger District in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness — poses “no threats to values at risk or surrounding communities.”

The area’s steep and rocky terrain as well as potential risks from precipitation and lightning mean fire managers will continue to monitor the fire by aircraft.

Since igniting on July 13, the fire has burned 7 acres in mixed conifer, aspen, and sub-alpine fir. It is zero-percent contained since “containment” refers to the perimeter — or circle — that firefighters typically create around a fire to keep it from spreading.

The update states, “The safety of our firefighters is our highest priority and putting firefighters near this fire could compromise their safety. There are no adequate escape routes or safety zones in the area of the fire that would allow for firefighters to safety retreat from the fire if needed.”

Additionally, “Monsoonal moisture is expected to continue in the area so growth potential is expected to be minimal with creeping and backing fire behavior. This type of fire activity is expected with occasional single tree torching. If conditions change to where fire behavior is becoming extreme and is becoming much more active, fire managers will take suppression actions that are appropriate with the fire intensity.

“Smoke impact to local communities at this time is low, however, smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease should be prepared to exercise precautionary measures. Smoke may be visible from Highway 522, Highway 64, Questa, San Cristobal, Lama, and surrounding communities. Information on air quality and protecting your health using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at, twitter/CarsonNF,, or call the Public Affairs Office at 575-758 6286.