Donaldson Fire update July 2

Detected: June 28, 2011                                               Start date: June 28, 2011

Acres:  90,393                                                             Structures Threatened: Approximately 80

Containment: 30%                                                       Location: South of US Hwy 70 in Hondo, NM

Fuel Type: Piñon/Juniper, brush and grass                   Cause: Lightning

Total personnel: 409                                                    Terrain: Rugged/Inaccessible

Resources: 10 Crews, 24 Engines, 5 Dozers,               Available air support: 5 Helicopters, 2 SEATS,

5 Water Tenders                                       3 Air Tankers

Summary: Firefighters made excellent progress again today and will begin mopping up and patrolling areas on the eastern perimeter.  The Donaldson Fire is burning primarily on private property and also on Mesaclero-Apache Tribal lands, State Forestry, and Forest Service lands.

Increase in acreage is due to more accurate aerial mapping. Also a portion of the fire along the west flank on the Mescalero-Apache Tribal lands grew due to shifting winds which created multiple spot fires in areas of high grass.

The evacuation order for the Alamo Canyon area along Alamo Canyon Road has been changed to a voluntary evacuation and is in effect for residents within this area. As the fire containment progresses, the risk of spotting and spreading will diminish.

A public meeting will be held on Saturday at 4 PM in San Patricio at St. Jude’s Parish Hall to provide an update on the Donaldson Fire. (Continued below map)

Yesterday: Firefighter’s were successful in tying in dozer lines with handlines around the eastern perimeter of the fire, resulting in the 30 percent containment.  The fire above Alamo Canyon was hung up in the rock crevices with some isolated torching of trees and was visible from U.S. Hwy. 70.


Due to the extreme steep and rugged terrain in this area direct handline (inserting firefighters on fire edge) is not possible without posing a high risk to firefighters.  Instead, indirect line by dozers was constructed north of Alamo Canyon Road to prevent fire from crossing over to residential areas. An indirect line is used when fire is in sparse fuels (open and scattered trees or brush) with rocky rugged terrain where the fire spread is slow.

Today: Firefighters will concentrate efforts on the northern perimeter along US Hwy 70 possibly conducting a burnout along Forest Road 443 (Hale Lake) in order to keep fire to the east beginning at approximately 10 am if weather conditions permit.  During these operations, smoke and isolated torching (flames) will still be visible from U.S. Hwy 70.

As fire is creeping and moving through sparse vegetation within the fire area in Alamo Canyon, firefighters are continuing to patrol this area and construct dozer lines while protecting structures and values at risk.  Dozer lines will be rehabilitated once the fire has been contained.

The structure protection group will continue assessing private property to ensure for public safety.  Air support (air tankers and helicopters) will be available and used for retardant and water drops as needed.

NOTE: Islands of unburned fuel within the fire perimeter may produce smoke and flames that can be visible from U.S. Hwy 70 and surrounding communities.  As these islands burn out and winds increase falling ash may be seen throughout the area as far away as Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs.

Advisory: Smoke from the Donaldson Fire is impacting communities of Hondo, Ruidoso, Ruidoso Downs, Capitan, Lincoln, Fort Stanton, Picacho, Tinnie, San Patricio, Glencoe, and other surrounding areas. For information about air quality and health effects related to smoke from wildfires, go to or call the New Mexico Nurse Advice Line at 1-877-725-2552.

Please use caution if driving along US Highway 70 due to an increase in fire traffic as well as public travel during Fourth of July weekend. Many places are either in fire restrictions or closures throughout the area so please, “Know Before You Go!” Visit for complete information on what is open and closed.

For more information including maps of the Donaldson Fire please visit




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