NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The 66 fire started late Thursday afternoon between I-40 and Route 66 in Carnuel. Officials say the danger from the fire has been mitigated and they are continuing mop efforts. It started in an arroyo just north of I-40 at the Carnuel bridge. High canyon winds created multiple spot fires on both sides of the interstate.

The fire burned about 24 acres and three structures were damaged in the fire; two residential buildings and one outbuilding. Orlando Griego, whose home burned in the fire, said, “It just happened so fast. Last night it was crazy these flames right here were like 40 feet high.”

The fire prompted some residents to evacuate Thursday night. Friday morning Sandoval County Sheriff’s say all evacuations have been lifted and residents are cleared to return. All Eastbound and Westbound lanes are reopened on I-40. Route 66 has completely reopened as well.

  • Start Date: June 16
  • Location: Between I-40 and Route 66 in Carnuel
  • Containment: 60%
  • Size: 24
  • Structures Threatened: Yes, unknown how many
  • Structures Burned: 2
  • Evacuations: No
  • Cause: Unknown
  • Total Personnel: 70
  • Area Vegetation: Bosque type fuels, grass, ponderosa
  • Ownership(s): Private

Agencies from across the metro were on scene helping fight the fire, including hot shot crews from Wyoming. Fire crews say initial air tanker drops played a key role in stopping the spread of the 66 Fire to the north. Families were left stranded Thursday night and unable to get home when I-40 was shut down for a period of time.

Family and friends have set up GoFundMe’s for the victims whose homes burned, Nadine Garcia and Valerie Griego.