Home News Local News New command team takes over Pine Lodge Fire response

New command team takes over Pine Lodge Fire response

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A portion of Highway 246 between Capitan and Roswell that closed due to the Pine Lodge Fire has been reopened, as command of response to the 13-day-old wildfire near the Capitan Wilderness Area was transferred from one team to another.

Pecos Zone Type 3 Incident Command is now in charge of response to the fire that has consumed 14,043 acres and is 46% contained, according to a post Monday morning on the New Mexico Fire Information website maintained by state and federal fire agencies. The transfer in command was made at 6 a.m. Monday.

“The Pecos Team will remain on track with the objectives set forth by the Lincoln National Forest and New Mexico State Forestry. Safety of firefighters and the public continues to be of the utmost importance,” the post on the website states.

The Pine Lodge Fire reached the crest of the Capitan Mountains, burning with minimal fire activity along the mountain’s rocky south slopes. Most of the fire is burning the Copeland Canyon and Peachtree Canyon drainages, with copious amounts of heat along Seven Cabins Road, as crews continue to manage and watch the road to ensure the fire does not move west, according to the website.

Personnel numbering 316 are working to suppress the blaze and carrying out suppression and repair activities — chipping wood materials, pulling away cut materials, fence repair and returning the fire area to a natural state — in areas disturbed or otherwise affected by fire suppression actions.

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A period of hot and dry weather might cause fire to spread through the grass, brush and dead fuels, which will expand fire activity into early next week, the website states. Cloud development Monday afternoon was expected to provide an increased chance of winds that could potentially increase fire behavior until rain returns to the forecast later in the week.

A forest closure remains in effect for the Capitan Mountains east of Capitan Gap and public entry into the area is prohibited, the website states.

Access to all trail systems and Forest Service roads in the closure area remain closed to public use, though West Mountain is open for recreation, according to the New Mexico Fire Information website.

People can find information about road closures by contacting the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 575-648-2341.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.