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Cajete Fire 80% contained; State Highway 4 reopens

KOB.com Web Staff and Joy Wang
June 19, 2017 11:49 AM

JEMEZ MOUNTAINS, N.M. -- Forest Service officials provided an update Sunday evening saying the Cajete Fire is 80 percent contained, and the goal is for it to be 95 percent contained by Monday evening. The blaze was up to 1,400 acres as of 9:00 p.m. Sunday. 

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Officials also reopened New Mexico Highway 4, which had been closed the past few days with the blaze burning on both sides of it, will reopen Sunday at noon. Law enforcement are escorting motorists crossing through the areas affected by the fire in both directions. Officials advised that they should expect delays. 

424 personnel  have been assigned to the fire, including 4 Type 1 Crews, 8 Type 2 crews, 7 engines, 1 dozer, 3 water tenders, 1 bulldozer, 2 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, and 1 Type 3 helicopter. The California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, led by Mark von Tillow, Incident Commander, is managing the fire. 

Residents are also now able to return to their homes, Forest Service officials said. But some said they are still afraid of what could happen with the changing conditions. 

"We live in the woods here, and we know the inherent dangers of living in the mountains is forest fires," said resident Jim Trout."

"'Til that last spark is out, this is not over."

Firefighters said that even though it may seem like a fire may be out, roots may still be burning underground, adding to the work they have to do to ensure the protection of the area and those living in it.

"We have to get deep enough to make it safe," one firefighter said. "These areas can still burn for weeks if nobody does anything."

For now, though, evacuees are allowed to return to their homes. 

"On Father's Day you can't get more excited to do what we try to do, which is get people back to where they want to be," Kale Casey said.  

Credits

KOB.com Web Staff and Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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