Cooks Peak Fire: 51,982 acres, some evacuees allowed to return home

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OCATE, N.M. – Evacuation orders are in place for multiple communities near the Cooks Peak Fire. Officials estimate the fire has rapidly spread to 51,982 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

Colfax County announced Sunday that residents of Miami may return home. Highway 21 remains closed due to fire activity, so residents will need to through Springer.

The Cooks Peak Fire will host a community meeting on Monday, April 25, 2022 at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Wagon Mound High School Gym at 300 Park Ave., in Wagon Mound.

The fire started on private land just north of Ocate in Mora County. There’s reportedly been no injuries or damage to structures, but officials said these windy conditions have made it difficult to fight the fire.

“It’s a very fast-moving fire, a fast-growing fire, it’s currently burning toward the east. It’s burning a few different heads so to speak, it’s kind of like a hand with a bunch of fingers, it’s spreading to the East with these red flag winds. These winds have been pretty hard for the past few days,” said Matthew Garcia, Cooks Peak Fire spokesperson.

The fire expanded from 21,200 acres to 28,200 between updates Thursday and Friday. State Road 21 remains closed.

Mora and Colfax County Sheriff’s offices are using the "Ready, Set, Go" program for evacuation statuses.

  • Ready: Be Ready! for potential evacuations.
  • Set: Be Set! to evacuate at a moment’s notice
  • Go: Evacuate now. Leave immediately.

Cimarron in Colfax County moved to a Set status Sunday. The following communities have moved to Go status: Rayado, Sweetwater, Sunnyside, and Philmont Scout Ranch. The communities in Ready status are Angel Fire, Black Lake and Hidden Lake.

There are evacuation centers set up at Memorial Middle School in Las Vegas, Wagon Mound Public Schools and Mora Schools. As for livestock evacuations, the American Legion Pavilion in Mora is available.

In Mora County, the following communities have been set to Go status: Los LeFebres, Los Huerros, East of County Road 009, north of NM Highway 120. Lucero and Los Cocas has been moved to Set status. The communities west of County Road 009, north of NM Highway 120 moved to Ready status.

Residents in Colfax County should sign up now for Code Red. This system notifies residents of evacuation status.


Location: North of Ocate, approximately 46 miles north of Las Vegas

Cause: Unknown, under investigation

Size estimate: 51,982 acres

Percent contained: 0%

Start date: April 17

Fire behavior and fuels: The Cooks Peak Fire is actively burning in ponderosa pine, oak brush and grass. The fire is currently running, torching and crowning with short-range spotting.

Values at risk: Multiple communities within Mora and Colfax Counties

Smoke: Smoke from the Cooks Peak Fire will continue to impact the surrounding communities, especially in northeast New Mexico. This includes Ocate, Rayado, Philmont Scout Ranch headquarters, Cimarron, and surrounding communities in Mora County and Colfax County.