PLACITAS, N.M. (KRQE) - A big question about the Piedra Fire churning in a canyon in the Sandia Mountains is how it began, and initial suspicions pointing to a human cause.
Dozens of firefighters are fighting this fire hoping the afternoon winds and heat don't turn this fire into a monster.
That's the main focus right now, but finding a cause is also a priority.
Fire crews started hiking out to the fire line as soon as they heard about the fire early this morning.
There were no lightning strikes overnight, and Cibola National Forest officials told KRQE News 13 they are unaware of any potential natural causes for the fire.
Still they say it's hard to say right now exactly how the fire may have started.
"Our main focus right now is fire suppression," said Arlene Perea of the Cibola National Forest. "We will have fire investigators absolutely going into the area, and the fire folks that were on the fire first, if they were able to determine an ignition point, they will have worked to secure that area."
It's unclear if fire crews have been able to identify an ignition point. If they do, preserving that area will be key in determining an exact cause.
- Earlier coverage:
Four aircraft have now joined the battle against a smoky and highly visible fire burning on the western face of the Sandia Mountains.
Twelve hours after the Piedra Fire was reported about 3 a.m. Thursday it had grown to 20 acres charred in a steep and rugged canyon, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
Two air tankers, a heavy-lift Skycrane helicopter and a lighter helicopter have been dropping water and lines of fire retardant on the blaze.Sandia Mountains Thursday.
The Piedra Fire is nestled in a canyon on the far northwest corner of the Sandia Mountains, about four miles southeast of Bernalillo and southwest of Placitas.
So far the fire has mostly been staying low in the grass, brush and old fallen trees and not crowning or reaching up into the branches of standing trees.
No structures are threatened at this time.
There are no structures in the immediate area and there are no roads nearby. Firefighters have to hike to the remote site.
Officials are asking that viewers do not call 911.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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