Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District Closed Due to Fire Activity, Post-Fire Impacts
Predicted Precipitation Raises Risk of Flash Flooding in Canyons
SANTA FE, NM – June 25, 2022 – The Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is still closed to the public due to fire activities related to the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires and potential post-fire impacts, including flash flooding and dangerous debris flow. Closure Order No. 10-508, posted here, remains in effect to protect public health and safety.
Hikers and campers anywhere on the Pecos/Las Vegas District, including the popular Pecos Canyon and Dalton Canyon areas, are in violation of the order, a Class B misdemeanor that carries a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.
The public safety message is simple: If you are camping or hiking anywhere on the district, but especially in or near drainages, please pack up and go home.
Although an early monsoon has significantly moderated fire behavior, the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires are 78% contained and could become active again if dry conditions and critical fire weather return. Persistent precipitation may also put communities in the fire area at risk for flash flooding and debris flow from the fire scar.
This weekend’s weather forecast calls for daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms starting this afternoon. Precipitation, moderate to heavy at times, will continue off and on through Sunday and into Monday, bringing the potential for flash flooding.
The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team on the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires is beginning Phase 3 of its assessment. Preliminary analysis indicates the headwaters of the Pecos River are susceptible to post-fire flooding. A rainfall intensity of 1.5 inches per hour would bring a 60% likelihood of debris flow to most stream reaches and small drainage basins.
The Pecos/Las Vegas District may be able to safely open portions of the east side of the district to the public in the near future.
Current fire information for the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires is posted on these online platforms: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8069/; https://www.facebook.com/CalfCanyonHermitsPeak; nmfireinfo.com; tinyurl.com/HermitsYouTube and Santa Fe NF.