A fire in the Pecos Wilderness northeast of Santa Fe burned about 150 acres of mountain forest Friday, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

The fire, in the vicinity of Hamilton Mesa, is 15 to 20 miles from Santa Fe, an agency spokeswoman said.

The Forest Service reported Friday evening that four Hotshot crews as well as an incident management team went to the blaze, called the Rincon Fire. A helicopter and air tankers were deployed to help fight it from above. The crews hadn’t had a chance to contain any of the fire late in the day.

Smoke was visible from some spots within a 100-mile radius of the fire. The Forest Service said people in the region with smoke sensitivity, lung disease or heart disease should be aware of the potential for wildfire-polluted air.

This is at least the third major wildfire in recent weeks in New Mexico and the second in Santa Fe National Forest. The Forest Service has warned that an extended drought has created dry, combustible forests.

One fire started over Memorial Day weekend north of Cuba, and the other began around May 20 in Western New Mexico’s Gila National Forest.

The Forest Service said the elevation at which the Rincon Fire is burning is about 11,000 feet, and its remoteness makes it challenging to fight. The fire is being fueled by spruce and fir trees as well as trees killed by insect infestation, the agency said.

The cause was unknown. Only two government-owned cabins are in the vicinity of the fire, but one is Beatty’s Cabin, which was built by a prospector and has historic value.

(2) comments

Steve Martinez

We own property that is too close to this fire. The national forest, and the Pecos Wilderness, is so overgrown that a person can't walk through the trees in the forest.

Khal Spencer

I saw that brewing up just as I was returning from a run to the hardware store. Was not a pretty sight.

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