Crews monitor grass fire in Belen, now 50% contained

Crews work to extinguish grass fire in Belen 10 p.m.

On Saturday, several crews were out fighting a grass fire that broke out in Belen near Seraphin and Jarales road.

BELEN, N.M. – On Saturday, several crews were out fighting a grass fire that started in Belen near Seraphin and Jarales Road. The fire is 50% contained.

Valencia County Fire Chief Matt Propp says the fire was moving fast because of the high winds, and several homes were threatened.

He says they have a pretty good idea of what caused the fire.

“So our initial investigation is showing that it’s probably ash from a previous fire. So completely preventable, and we talk about these fires every single year,”  said Propp. 

He says he knows agricultural field burning is a part of life in Belen but urges people to be cautious and follow all fire warnings like the red flag warning in place Saturday.

“We are going to start to issue citations for fires caused on no-burn days and specifically red flag, because the consequences is a terrible fire, where we could lose homes and lives,” Propp said. 

He says Saturday’s fire makes him nervous as the year gets hotter and drier.

“We are early on, but I think, unfortunately, this is going to be what the season looks like this year. So we would just tell everybody to be cautious of fire,” said Propp. 

Propp reminds people that all the brush that grew in the wet season is now turning to fire fuel.

“If you have weeds and brush growing up all the way to your house, you were just inviting a fire right up to your structure,” said Propp. 

He says crews will continue to monitor the area Saturday and Sunday to watch for any hot spots. They hope to have the fire 100% contained by Sunday evening.