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Cajete Fire 65 percent contained; residents could return home Sunday

Brittany Costello and KOB.com Web Staff
June 18, 2017 09:27 AM

JEMEZ MOUNTAINS, N.M. – The huge plume of smoke that could be seen as far as Albuquerque disappeared Saturday, a welcome sign for residents of the area.

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KOB was told by officials that State Highway 4 may reopen as early as Sunday afternoon.

The massive flames are dwindling, but alongside the highway between Jemez Springs and Los Alamos, smoke was still barreling up burnt trees on Saturday. Through the haze, some lost cattle are still searching for a way out.

For some, these mountains are home – a home the blaze forced them out of.

“It’s hard to get your animals out,” Mark Farquhar said. “I got Teresa out, we had trouble finding Rosie; she was running around the woods.”

With little time to evacuate on Thursday morning, Farquhar said he had to leave his home without his dog, Rosie, not knowing if he would see her or his home again.

The Animal Amigos, a group that has been working to rescue animals left behind, reunited them.

Farquhar said he’s lived in the Jemez area for 16 years. But for now, his temporary home is the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church as the fire fight continues.

“It’s scary,” he said, “but we’ve been through it before.”

Farquhar was one of dozens to get the good news on Saturday that he might be able to return home soon, news that he called “a big relief.”

After reportedly growing at 0 percent containment for the first 24+ hours of its existence, Forest Service officials said that, as of Sunday morning, the Cajete Fire had swelled to over 1,360 acres in size with 65 percent containment. More than 320 people have lent a hand in fighting the blaze, according to the Forest Service.

The cause of the fire was found to be an abandoned campfire, one of at least 14 left recently without being put out completely.

It’s an ongoing problem that residents here, including Susan Janes, are tired of.

“We have put out countless campfires,” Janes said. “It’s very frustrating that the general public, which does not live here, are coming to recreate on our lands (and) they don’t care.”

Officials said residents could be able to return to their homes as early as Sunday or Monday.

As for the person responsible for abandoning the campfire, officials tell KOB that they are still investigating.

A helping hand

Uber and Lyft will be bringing donations to those affected by the fire on Sunday.

Anyone who wants to contribute can drop off their donations Sunday morning at the Osuna Apartments complex on Osuna Road.

The donations will later be taken to Jemez Springs. 



 

Credits

Brittany Costello and KOB.com Web Staff

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

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