RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Crews have been working on a fire off of Forest Road 137 in the Carson National Forest in the El Rito Ranger District. The Comanche Fire was reportedly sparked by lightning, but crews have allowed it to burn under supervision as a way to manage the forest.

The fire burned on the north slopes of Comanche Canyon and is burning eight miles west of El Rito, 11 miles north of Abiquiu, and 10 miles southeast of Canjilon. Smoke may be visible in surrounding areas but should be minimal as the fire dies down. As of Friday, June 30, temporary partial road closures are in place on Forest Road 137 and Forest Road 20.

Crews have been using a “confine and contain strategy” to allow the fire to work its natural role in the ecosystem. The fire activity is minimal as of the latest forest service update, and crews will work to cool any hotspots.

Comanche Fire

  • Start Date: June 8, 2023
  • Location: 8 miles west of El Rito, 11 miles north of Abiquiu, 10 miles southeast of Canjilon
  • Percent Completed: 75% as of Friday, June 30
  • Size: 1,974 acres
  • At Risk: Cultural/historical sites
  • Evacuations: No
  • Cause: Lightening
  • Total Personnel: 1 hand crew, 2 wildland fire modules, 4 engines, 1 grader, 1 REMS team, and 2 water tenders. 172 total personnel.
  • Area Vegetation: ponderosa pine, mixed conifer
  • Ownership(s): NA
  • Closures: Partial road closures for Forest Roads 137 and 20

“Fire staff are evaluating the potential of managing this naturally-caused wildfire to improve forest and watershed health,” says District Ranger Angie Krall. “We have been working with partners for years to reduce fuel loads in the Rio Chama watershed and will take advantage of this fire if the conditions and timing are suitable.”

The fire is within the Rio Chama Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project. One of the main goals of the project is to restore “natural fire regimes” to the area.