The Pine Lodge Fire raging five miles northwest of Arabela since Wednesday has grown to 7,898 acres and is at 0% containment, according to the most recent report from the New Mexico Fire Information website Monday.
Progress was made in combatting the fire Sunday as firefighters attempted to build a “catcher’s mitt” on three sides of the blaze, according to the website.
On the eastern flank aerial drops of fire retardant helped firefighters build a fire control line directly on the fire’s edge. Structure protection assessments were conducted around the hunter’s cabin area and in Arabela to protect structures and sites to the east, according to the website.
Burnout operations were conducted along New Mexico State Road 246 West on the north-northeast flank of the fire.
Monday, winds were expected to start shifting and start blowing from the southeast.
“Firefighters have been getting out ahead of the wind shift by preparing fire line on FS 256 (Seven Cabin Road) to contain fire spread to the northwest of the current perimeter. The weather change can be a positive in aiding with containment efforts on the east flank, allowing firefighters to more safely construct fire control line directly on the fire edge,” the website states.
In all, about 328 personnel are on the scene battling the fire, the cause of which is not yet known, as radio towers, cabins and 15 structures in the Arabella area remain under threat.
The website states that New Mexico State Road 246 remains closed from Capitan to Roswell, according to the website. Local residents will be allowed to access their home or property. An area closure is in place for the Capitan Mountains east of Capitan Road until further notice.
“All trail systems and Forest Service roads within the closure area are closed to public use,” the website states.
Closure information is posted online at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6397.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.