Crews focus on repairing lines of fire

US Forest Service crews repair fences on private land that were damaged during firefighting efforts on the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire. (Courtesy of the United States Forest Service)

Crews working on New Mexico’s largest wildfire are now focused on repairing fences and containment lines.

The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire is at 341,735 acres and 93% contained Tuesday.

Shilow Norton, chief of operations for the fire management team, said the last uncontained fire perimeter in the Pecos Wilderness was in good condition.

“There’s no heat right now and we’re not seeing any smoke,” Norton said.

Private property owners can seek repairs for fire suppression work that has affected their properties.

Forestry crews are rebuilding fences that firefighters cut when the blaze threatened homes and communities earlier this year.

The agency has received repair requests for more than 500 properties in the fire zone.

The Forest Service reseeds the land, removes dirt berms, and clears trees and brush that have been cut down to slow the progress of the fire.

Repairs could take weeks, especially in rough terrain around the northern perimeter of the fire.

A Forest Service crew repairs a fire line near Aqua Piedra Campground and Sipapu Ski Area. (Courtesy of the United States Forest Service)

In some areas, crews place fallen trees over dormant areas so they won’t be used as roads in the future.

Workers clean up any misplaced equipment left behind by fire crews.

Crews remove fallen trees along Gallinas Creek west of Las Vegas.

“Those trees that are in that drainage could end up clogging some culverts or bridges,” Norton said.

Crews are also repairing fire line damage to forest roads and wilderness areas.

Heavy rains have disrupted repair work in recent days.

Logging workers move heavy equipment away from burn scars and fire lines during storms.

In steep landscapes, crews carry out repairs by hand.

“We’re expecting more rain each evening so we’ll continue to be ready to stray if we have thunderstorms and then we’ll be ready to come back and get to work,” Norton said.

About 660 people are affected by the fire.

More than 3,000 people were working on the incident at the height of fire activity earlier this year.