Pecos prepares as Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire creeps closer

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PECOS, N.M. — The Village of Pecos is preparing as the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire creeps closer.

Mayor Ted Benavidez said the fire is about seven miles away from the village. You can clearly see the smoke from the village but Benavidez is asking residents not to panic, saying firefighters are working around the clock to slow the fire’s spread.

“The smoke that you see today is actually not just the fire on its own, it is firefighters lighting some of that material that needs to be burnt so it’s good to see it and then it’s good not too,” he said. “But just knowing that there’s somebody with it there makes us feel a lot better.”

Chopper 4 flew over the Pecos area Thursday, with the fire clearly burning and the smoke plume rising in the distance.

The U.S. Forest Service says firefighters are working directly on the fire line along the southern and eastern perimeter and three structure protection groups are working the Pecos River Corridor Area.

Benavidez says firefighters are also on the way to the Pecos National Historical Park.

“They are now moving close to a thousand firefighters into the national monument right outside of the village limits,” he said. “We’re going to have all the resources there that are needed. They’re going to have plenty of firefighters and they have the command center moving there. They’ have the sheriff there, state police, and that makes us feel better that they’re moving closer to us so they can work the fire from this side instead of coming around from Vegas.”

Right now there are no mandatory evacuation orders in place for the Village of Pecos but the mayor says they’re working on a plan in case that changes.

For now, Benavidez is asking people living in Pecos to be patient and help each other out.

“I personally don’t really see the fire getting to the village. I pray that it won’t get to the village. I pray that it won’t get to Cow Creek or Colonias. It’s got to get there first before it gets to the village. And we’re also hoping it doesn’t circle around up the canyon. We’ve got a lot more timber up there, bigger trees, all the pine areas, so we’re just praying for rain.”

If you live in Pecos and you’re looking for updates on the fire, the mayor says you can call or stop by the village office for the latest information.