Cooks Peak Fire: Mandatory evacuations issued, around 8,000 acres burned

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OCATE, N.M — Mandatory evacuations have been issued for residents near a wildfire, northeast of the Hermits Peak Fire, growing in size due to strong winds.

The Cooks Peak Fire has burned approximately 8,000 acres, according to the Mora County Sheriff’s Office. The wildfire began as a 300-acre grass fire first detected Sunday afternoon on private land north of Ocate in Mora County.

The Mora County Sheriff’s Office and Colfax County are using the Ready, Set, Go! program for evacuation status. All residences from mile marker 14 to 26 on New Mexico Highway 120 are in a ‘Go’ mandatory evacuation status. All residences from mile marker 7 to 14 on Highway 120 are in a ‘Set’ evacuation series, to be set for a mandatory evacuation order.

The town of Ocate, Colfax County communities of Sweet Water, Rayado, Sunny Side, and Miami are currently under Ready status. This means residents must be prepared to leave immediately if a full evacuation is necessary.

Evacuation Centers: Memorial Middle School in Las Vegas, Wagon Mound Public Schools, and Mora Schools are available for evacuees if needed.

Livestock: The American Legion Pavilion is available for evacuated horses and livestock at 268 State Highway 434 in Mora. The State Land Office is also offering a pasture for large animals displaced by the fire. Contact Livestock Inspector Matthew Romero at (575) 643-6805 for more information.

Closures: County CR009 remains closed.

A Northern New Mexico Type 3 Incident Management Team has been called in to take over operations. They will bring additional personnel on board – right now there are 145 people working on this fire. Personnel will be working to combat significant fire growth to the northeast toward the Colfax County line.

The forecast is calling for 30 to 40 MPH sustained winds with gusts up to 60 MPH through Wednesday morning.

This is a developing story. Stay with KOB Eyewitness News 4 and for updates.