As the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire moves farther south, city officials re-iterated Sunday afternoon that no areas in the City of Las Vegas are currently under a mandatory evacuation at this time. They are, however, preparing for the possibility that evacuations may be necessary in the days to come depending on how high winds move the fire.
The Camp Luna area of Las Vegas, which includes Luna Community College and the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute, are in the “SET” status, meaning residents in that area need to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, the Creston and Cinder areas of Las Vegas are in “READY” status, meaning residents there should begin preparations for possible evacuation.
Current evacuations in San Miguel County are: Big Pine, Canovas Canyon, Porvenir Canyon, El Porvenir, Lower Canyon Road, Gallinas, Trout Springs, Gallinas Hot Springs, Storrie Lake, Las Dispensas, San Ignacio, Lone Pine Mesa, Chavez, Canoncito, Pendaries Village, Pendaries Valley East, Rociada, Upper Rociada and Tierra Monte Canon, La Canada, Las Tusas, the area of 527-525 on Highway 518, Manuelitas, East and West Sapello, Emplazado, Mineral Hill, San Pablo, and San Geronimo.
In Mora County, Rito Cebolla, Buena Vista, the eastern area of Mora both north and south of 518 up to the 434/94 intersection on 518, Penasco Blanco, South Carmen, Ledoux, Upper Morphy, Santiago Creek, Abuelo, Puertocito, North and South Mora, Rainesville, Ojo Feliz, Guadalupita, Lucero, Los Medinas, La Jara, Lo Cisneros, and El Turquillo are under mandatory evacuations.
In the City of Las Vegas, Utilities Director Maria Gilvarry said Sunday that the watershed and water treatment facility are still operating normally, and all water in the city is still meeting federal regulations. She said the city will continue to provide water to city residents as normal. She did advise residents to use water carefully, as always.
Due to the fire, Las Vegas City Schools, West Las Vegas Schools, New Mexico Highlands University and Luna Community College will not be open in-person on Monday.
United World College, located in Montezuma, has been fully evacuated and students and staff have been relocated to the Glorieta Conference Center.
The fire has grown to approximately 104,000 acres as of Sunday, with 30 percent containment, most of that on the north and east sides of the fire.
The fire made a push yesterday, moving southeast towards Mineral Hill and east toward the Hot Springs area. Firefighters focused on structure protection ahead of the fire and continued dozer line construction in key locations, including along CR42 around Ledoux and west of NM Highway 518. A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM today. Shifting wind directions, increasing temperatures and poor humidity recoveries will continue to challenge established firelines in several directions. Another structure group has been established and is assigned to the northwest edge of the City of Las Vegas. The other three groups will focus on structure protection in areas of expected fire growth. Line construction will continue with the objective to keep the fire out of Ledoux and west of 518. Six scooper planes and eight helicopters will continue air operations to slow the rate of fire spread, aiding firefighters in their work on the ground. Increasing wind speeds could impede air operations. Please remember that drones are still prohibited in the temporary flight restriction zone, outlined on the map. If drones enter the flight zone, firefighting aircraft will be immediately grounded, eliminating a much-needed resource.
The shelter at Memorial Middle School in Las Vegas remains open for all evacuees, and donations of supplies and food are being accepted at Calvary Chapel at 2310 7th Street in Las Vegas.
The Red Cross is taking names and addresses and will have a local person call to discuss damages and ways they can assist. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 24 hours a day for assistance.
Anyone who has lost a home or sustained property damage should register with HELP New Mexico. Their staff is located at the official American Red Cross shelter at Memorial Middle School, and they are urging people to visit in person to register their contact information. A list of additional resources will be provided to those who register. You can reach HELP New Mexico staff Julie Martinez, at 505-469-2073 or Moriah Griego at 505-235-5276 or 505-573-8886. People needing assistance are encouraged to go directly to Memorial Middle School rather than calling, if possible. Staff members are on site at Memorial Middle School daily.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism