Smoke may be visible in the Santa Fe area due to a lightning-sparked wildfire on the western edge of Santa Fe National Forest that firefighters are allowing to burn in order to clear dense vegetation.
The Naranjo Fire southeast of Regina, which began July 1, increased to 732 acres between Tuesday and Wednesday because of operations by firefighters, which include igniting additional fires within an approximately 1,000-acre containment line around the blaze, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Sandra Lopez, a Forest Service spokeswoman, said the forest in that area is “thick with vegetation,” so the agency decided to manage the fire to improve forest health and reduce future wildfire risk.
More than 100 firefighters from New Mexico and Arizona are working on the blaze.
“It’s a wildfire that we’re managing for resources benefits,” Lopez said. “It’s really thick in there. You can’t even hike in there.”
The Forest Service warned smoke might be visible from U.S. 550 and N.M. 96, as well as in the areas of Cuba, Regina, La Jara, Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
For safety reasons, the Forest Service has temporarily closed forest roads in the area.
Weather is expected to remain hot and dry this week. Lopez said people should expect to continue to see fire and smoke.
New Mexico, which saw a relatively large amount of precipitation over the winter and spring, has experienced a light wildfire season so far, leading up to the summer monsoon.