Four Corners firefighters contain 35-acre brush fire despite high winds

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BLOOMFIELD, N.M. — High winds are increasing the threat of brush fires in the Four Corners. Around 35 acres of land in San Juan County turned black after a wildfire broke out Wednesday evening.

“This came in as a smoke check someone in the area saw a cloud of smoke and called 911,” said Devin Neeley, public information officer for San Juan County Fire and Rescue.

The smoke was a warning sign that the field was rapidly catching fire.

“It was moving pretty quickly in somewhat heavy brush and trees and basically river growth,” Neeley said. “We immediately dispatched crews, based on the rate of spread we upgraded that to ask for more resources, more people, and more fire apparatus.”

Close to 50 firefighters from San Juan County Fire and Rescue, Farmington Fire Department, and Bureau of Land Management Fire worked all night to contain the fire.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the area, to make sure Wednesday’s problem doesn’t blow into the weekend.

“Containment lines are just that, they are keeping the fire into a specific area and so there may be some areas of unburned within that containment that may rekindle. What we are aiming to do is keep it within the containment and out of the neighborhood.”

Despite the improvements to San Juan County’s drought status, the Four Corners is still vulnerable to fire.

“We haven’t seen the green up yet, yeah, the ground has some moisture, but these fine fuels are not soaking up moisture as a live fuel would. They are a dead fuel, they may have been covered in snow they may have had water on them, but they dry out again pretty easily,” Neeley added. “That’s what we saw here, we have seen some snow, we have seen some rain and really that’s gone into the ground, but the fuels are still suspectable to burning.”

Friday is a red flag day. Fire danger is very high and burning is not allowed in San Juan County.