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Wildfire has residents scrambling to save livestock

The U.S. Forest Service says the Black Feather Fire has burned 2,300 acres and is 0% contained.”It’s a bad weather situation that we’re in today. They’re predicting 30-plus mile-an-hour wind gusts today. It’s a red flag warning day. So, we do anticipate more erratic fire behavior and fire growth,” said Luke McLarty, the incident manager for the Northern New Mexico Incident Management Team.The strong winds limit aerial attacks on the wildfire. Crews have to work on the ground to stop the spread.”The area hasn’t seen fire in so long that the amount of dead and down on the ground is jackstraw to where the retardant that they use can’t penetrate to slow the fire down, so it ends up just chewing right through it,” said McLarty.People in the area are now scrambling to save their livestock and their land.Carmella Ortega speaking to KOAT that her family’s land is being threatened by the fire.”I have family out this morning looking for cattle that they can’t locate at this time,” said Ortega.She’s under a “SET” order evacuation, meaning she is ready and set to go at any moments notice. However, she has chosen to stay behind to help her neighbors evacuate and round up livestock for them. Our crews witnessed Ortega jump in her truck to round up cattle from a fellow neighbor.”We’re so far out here that if we do get a fire that comes out down this far, we’re probably going to have to fight it ourselves,” said Ortega.EvacuationsThe Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office has put the communities of Mesa del Poleo and Mesa Pinabetal under a SET evacuation status.An evacuation center has been set up at the Coyote Senior Center.The sheriff’s office and Rio Arriba Emergency Management will have a command center set up at the Rural Event Center off State Road 554 at 7 a.m. Monday. The area has also been designated a livestock and animal evacuation site.Action 7 News On The Go: Download our app for free

The U.S. Forest Service says the Black Feather Fire has burned 2,300 acres and is 0% contained.

“It’s a bad weather situation that we’re in today. They’re predicting 30-plus mile-an-hour wind gusts today. It’s a red flag warning day. So, we do anticipate more erratic fire behavior and fire growth,” said Luke McLarty, the incident manager for the Northern New Mexico Incident Management Team.

The strong winds limit aerial attacks on the wildfire. Crews have to work on the ground to stop the spread.

“The area hasn’t seen fire in so long that the amount of dead and down on the ground is jackstraw to where the retardant that they use can’t penetrate to slow the fire down, so it ends up just chewing right through it,” said McLarty.

People in the area are now scrambling to save their livestock and their land.

Carmella Ortega speaking to KOAT that her family’s land is being threatened by the fire.

“I have family out this morning looking for cattle that they can’t locate at this time,” said Ortega.

She’s under a “SET” order evacuation, meaning she is ready and set to go at any moments notice. However, she has chosen to stay behind to help her neighbors evacuate and round up livestock for them. Our crews witnessed Ortega jump in her truck to round up cattle from a fellow neighbor.

“We’re so far out here that if we do get a fire that comes out down this far, we’re probably going to have to fight it ourselves,” said Ortega.

Evacuations

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office has put the communities of Mesa del Poleo and Mesa Pinabetal under a SET evacuation status.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Coyote Senior Center.

The sheriff’s office and Rio Arriba Emergency Management will have a command center set up at the Rural Event Center off State Road 554 at 7 a.m. Monday. The area has also been designated a livestock and animal evacuation site.

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