Monsoons Bring Lightning-Caused Fire Starts Across SFNF

Monsoons Bring Lightning-Caused Fire Starts Across SFNF,
Including Santa Fe’s Atalaya Mountain

SANTA FE, NM – July 16, 2022 – A lightning-caused fire started on the east slope of Atalaya Mountain was one of five natural ignitions on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) yesterday, an indication that the 2022 wildfire season is not over yet. The monsoonal weather patterns that bring much-needed moisture also bring lightning, which can easily ignite drought-stressed trees and other vegetation.

Smoke was reported from the Atalaya Fire burning in ponderosa pine and grasses around 11 a.m. yesterday. Two engines and the Santa Fe Hotshots were dispatched to the Atalaya Fire yesterday as a Type 3 helicopter dropped water. Firefighters completed a line around the fire’s 5.5-acre perimeter last night, and the Hotshots remain on site today.

The Atalaya Fire illustrates the potential risk of wildfire in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) where Santa Fe homes and property are adjacent to the national forest. The Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition, a collaborative started in 2016 by federal agencies, state, Tribal and local governments, and non-governmental and community-based organizations, addresses wildfire preparation, response, and recovery in and around the city of Santa Fe. The Fireshed Coalition promotes landscape-scale forest restoration and fire-adapted communities to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Crews secured the four additional fire starts across the forest.

For more information about the Atalaya Fire, contact the Española Ranger District at 505-753-7331. Stay up to date on SFNF news by checking the SFNF website and following us on Facebook and Twitter