Jun. 12—The Rincon Fire northeast of Santa Fe grew to over 200 acres Saturday and was zero percent contained, said Julie Anne Overton, a spokeswoman for Santa Fe National Forest.
Two helicopters and 10 firefighters were deployed to the fire, which ignited Friday in a remote area of the Pecos Wilderness.
More firefighters were expected to arrive Tuesday to help fight the blaze, which was estimated at 150 acres Friday. Its cause has not yet been determined.
Michael Wood of Albuquerque arrived at Jacks Creek Campground in the Pecos Wilderness on Friday. Not long after, he and his family noticed a faint plume of smoke a few miles to the north of their camp.
"It got bigger as the day went on," Wood said Saturday. "Later, we saw the planes and the helicopters flying to the fire."
Firefighters were concerned that a large number of dead trees in the area could add to the fire's intensity and generate significant smoke, Overton said.
"My understanding is that they have had quite a bit of bug kill in the area," said Overton, referring to an insect infestation that has killed trees. "This is going to provide fuel for the fire. It probably means it will create a lot of smoke."
The village of Pecos woke up to just that Saturday morning, as smoke from the fire settled over the valley.
"It was really smoky here," said Alida Strock, who lives a few houses down from a U.S. Forest Service office in Pecos.
"My dad has COPD," said Strock, referring to the lung disease. "He could barely breathe."
Wildfires have increased in New Mexico and across the Southwest in recent weeks, as drought continues to impact the region. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are 11 large fires in the Southwest, including five in New Mexico.
"It's so dry here," said Paul Griego as he watered the plants at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Pecos.
"I've been doing my rain dance," Griego joked. "It hasn't worked."