ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Even though the Thompson Ridge Fire is about 90 percent contained, fire bosses are planning a major burnout Sunday to protect the summit of Redondo Peak.
The planned ignition involves an area of unburned fuel that's become known as the "donut hole" well inside the fire perimeter. The burnout is expected to begin Sunday afternoon, continue through Monday and generate a large plume of heavy smoke.
A public meeting is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at the La Cueva fire station to explain the burnout and what residents can expect.
"Fire officials from the team as well as the Valles Caldera and Santa Fe National Forest and are in agreement that closing this hole is the best option to minimize the threat to Redondo Peak," a statement released Saturday said "Twenty-two new heat sources were detected within what is being referred to as the "donut hole" of the fire.
"With the predicted weather for the next three days to remain similar to what we've experienced the last three days, fire operations personnel have made the decision to conduct a burnout operation to prevent the fire from building a head of steam on its own and burning up to the summit of Redondo Peak."
A downed power line near La Cueva sparked the fire on May 31, and it has since grown to nearly 24,000 acres in and around the Valles Caldera National Preserve west of Los Alamos.
The Santa Fe National Forest is being closed to public access beginning at 8 a.m. Monday with the exception of the Rio Chama Scenic River. The Valles Caldera also is closed except for the gift shop and staging area where wildlife can be viewed.
Towns and pueblos in the area of the fire remain open for business.
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