Deer Creek Fire Smoke Rises Over the Nascimientos

Photos R.W.

Smoke from the lightning strike caused Deer Creek Fire has now become visible in the southern parts of the Jemez Valley.  It started on Sept. 18 when it was estimated at about eight acres, but has most likely grown by now. No new reports on its progress have yet been posted  on New Mexico Fire Information or the Santa Fe National Forest sites.

The fire is burning on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire.


Smoke Rising Over Gilman and Two Other Fires in Santa Fe National Forest

By Julie Anne Overton


Three lightning-caused fires on the Santa Fe National Forest are putting up visible smoke today as crews keep an eye on the Deer Creek, Beaver Creek, and Ojitos Fires.

A lightning strike on Friday started the Deer Creek Fire, estimated at about eight acres, on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire which started on July 18.  As crews monitor the Deer Creek Fire, which is about 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels, smoke has been reported from US Highway 550 and may impact the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon.

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Just a Tinge

Is that a just a first touch of Golden Autumn creeping in?

The Jemez Bosque just north of Cañon:



Bad Day for Bad Bird

At the top of the news this weekend: forces of nature (Physics,  centrifugal forces, mostly) thwart  theft.

Please identify bird below and send information to either comments on this page or in Facebook.


At first all went well, and Bad Bird (BB) got a few deeply drawn sucks of nectar. 


But then, something strange began to happen…

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Why are the Sirens Blaring Along the Highway All Day Long (See Final Update)

Update 3:  The incident ended last night with Sandoval County sheriff’s deputies arresting a man wanted for a probation violation who barricaded himself in a house in Sierra los Pinos. The response, witnessed to some degree by travellers on NM Highway 4, involved  a New Mexico State Police tact team, an NMSP bomb team and an Albuquerque Police Department SWAT unit all of whom worked with the Sandoval County sheriff’s office. These folks spent all day arriving at the site, scattering traffic onto the highway shoulders as they came, but the suspect, after being held at bay for most of the day, still managed to escape from the house and was only apprehended by a K-9 unit in the woods afterwards. He is reported to have suffered minor injuries.
Thank you Stan Wilson of KOB TV for information about the incident, before it was available anywhere else. 
Update 2: A report on KOB TV now identifies the area as Sierra los Pinos, not Thompson Ridge, as previously reported. The identity of the wanted person or what he is wanted for has not been revealed.
Update: CODE RED  issued
According to Stan Wilson of KOB TV, NM State Police and Sandoval County Sheriffs have issued a code red alert advising residents of the Thompson Ridge area of the Jemez mountains to stay in their homes. Travel on local roads may be restricted. There is an armed individual barricaded in his home in the area with an unknown number of firearms.
Below is the original post:
Every kind of emergency vehicle, including state police, ambulances and negotiating teams have been tearing along NM Highway 4 since this morning, and heading up into the mountains. However, neither the state police nor any of the local TV news sources have given detailed information.
According to Stan Wilson of KOB TV who has spoken with NM State Police, the police are executing a search warrant  somewhere, someplace up there in an unspecified location in the Jemez area.
Wilson also noted that the State Police stated that no evacuations have been ordered.

Travellers to Santa Fe have reported seeing armoured vehicles on the highway. It is not clear if this has any connection with the events in the Jemez.

Stay tuned.

It’s Over. Santa Fe National Forest Completed Operations on the Peggy Fire

Dianne A. Berry 
Acting Assistant Public Affairs Officer


Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest completed operations on the Peggy Fire on the Jemez Ranger District over the weekend, using a lightning strike on July 18 to return beneficial fire to the fire-adapted landscape on Peggy Mesa approximately 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels.

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Peggy Fire Versus Flash Flood

By R.W.

It’s all happening out there if you believe weather forecasts and forest fire updates. What’s there to not believe as we sniff little wafts of smoke in our bedrooms and strain to hear rain pattering on our roofs.

It is quite clear though, that this is a cruel world where some get soaked time and time again, while others stay gasping in the dust. These monsoon-like events are so unevenly distributed where some of us sadly return home with vehicles still dripping from the shower we struggled through with our wipers maxing out on fast to be greeted by a dust devil in the driveway.Continue reading

Smoke from Peggy Fire Still Rises Above the Jemez

Photos R.W.

Smoke from Peggy Fire as seen on NM Highway 4 just north of the schools.

The Peggy Fire, now in ite ninth day, has reached almost 600 acres. Dianne A. Berry, of the Santa Fe National Forest issued this information: “Fire crews took advantage of favorable weather conditions yesterday to make good progress through both ponderosa pine and piñon/juniper vegetation controlled ignitions.  Interior spot fires continue to be moderated by the minimal needle litter and ladder fuels in the San Diego prescribed fire treatment area.  Crews will continue controlled burning operations as conditions allow.”

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Smoke and Bird Updates

Photos R.W.

A brief smoke event with the wind travelling in the same direction as yesterday, but much less fierce, and picking up much less smoke. The Forest Service update tells us that the affected area has grown to 256 acres.

They also include an interesting explanation for yesterday’s photogenic event: “Fire activity was low to moderate throughout the day Saturday until about 5:30 p.m. when a storm cell brought much stronger winds out of the north, drastically increasing fire activity and pushing the fire to the south. The winds also helped create the very visible smoke column in the late afternoon. The blacklining that crews had worked on over the past several days held the fire in spite of the dramatic shift in wind direction and speed. Today, crews on scene continued to blackline the perimeter and look for spot fires. ”

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(Fake) Drama Above and Below and (Illegal Leaks of) Fire and Water

Photos R.W.


The Peggy Fire as seen from a mesa in Red Rocks.

Do not believe what you hear or what you see. You might have read on these pages chilling warnings against life threatening  walls of storm water rushing down arroyos and calm reassurances about low intensity puffs of smoke lingering through the morning. Well…

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Flash Flood Watch from Now Until 9 p.m. on Saturday


The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for a portion of north and central New Mexico including the Jemez. Slow moving thunderstorms are likely to dump up to 2 inches of rain with locally higher numbers possible, where storms revisit the same area. This could lead to localized flash flooding. Small hail and wind gusts to near 50 mph are possible with the stronger storms.

Locally heavy rainfall potential will increase and become more widespread late Sunday into Monday.

Rufous Loses Control

Photos R.W.

Ever since he arrived on the scene Mr. Rufous ruled the space around the feeder not allowing any other hummer the slightest sip. His aerial acrobatic reflexes, skills and tactics were quite impressive as he kept swarms of others of his kind at bay.

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Still Smoldering up on Peggy

Photos R.W.

The fire on Peggy Mesa, in its fourth day this Friday is making some slow progress and has grown from 11 acres yesterday to 35 acres today. There have been no more updates from the Forest Service since this morning. The air is pretty still and the smoke appears to be rising and drifting in a northeasterly direction.

Here are a few images of the rising smoke as seen from US Highway 4 this afternoon:



The 2016 Consumer Confidence Report for the Canon Mutual Domestic Water Association is Available for Viewing

By Wayne Punjak

The Canon Water Association Consumer Confidence Report CMDWA Board is pleased to announce availability of the 2016 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). This report, prepared annually, is designed to provide details about where the association’s water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. It is a snapshot of last year’s water quality.

We are committed to providing you with information because informed members are our best allies. Members may request a copy of the 2016 CCR by emailing or calling (575) 834-7853. Copies are also posted at the Jemez Valley Community Center in Canon, the Jemez Valley Credit Union, the Jemez Valley Medical Clinic, and Post Offices in Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo and San Ysidro, and on the CMDWA Facebook page. Thanks!

Peggy Fire Update

By Julie Anne Overton


The smoke as seen last Tuesday, the day the fire started. Since then there has been some heavy rain in parts of the Jemez Valley, but apparently it did not drench the area, Peggy Mesa, where this low intensity fire continous to smolder.

Update on the Update:    Smoke has increased, with impacts expected in Gilman and Jemez Pueblo. Flame lengths of 1-2 feet are evident.  Afternoon and evening higher humidities continue to moderate the fire activity.  The fire is being monitored with daily patrols.


Start Date: July 18, 2017

Cause: Lightning

Size:  Approximately 11 acres

Location: On the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, the fire is located on Peggy Mesa approximately 2 miles northwest of Gilman Tunnels.

Vegetation:  The fire is burning in piñon pines, juniper, ponderosa pine, and oak scrub brush.

Current Situation:  A lightning strike ignited a single standing dead tree (snag) that spread the fire into surrounding slash and nearby dead and down timber.  The low-intensity fire is creeping and smoldering.  The fire is in monitor status.

Smoke/Air Quality:  Smoke may be visible from the US Route 550, and NM Hwy 4 at Jemez Pueblo.  It is not generating a lot of smoke or affecting many communities. Individuals sensitive to smoke, as well as those with respiratory or heart disease, are reminded to take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are available online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:

Fire Information:  Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at and on @SantaFeNF and  Additional information can be obtained from the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535.



Photo R.W. 

Looking west toward Guadalupe/Gilman Valley a fair amount of smoke rising in the air. It decreased as the evening went by, and there was no mention of it on any of the National Forest pages. And now just before 8:30 p.m., a few lonely little drops of rain have been observed hurling themselves to the ground, leaving, for a brief moment, tiny spots of moisture where they fell . Monsoon 2017 (not really).

Hazardous Weather Outlook for Jemez Area


Update: This forecast was issued at about 2:00 p.m. and is no longer up. Also, the hazardous weather warning has been removed from the regular National Weather Service forecast site.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of north and central New Mexico that includes he Jemez area. Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain along the western portion of the Thompson Ridge burn scar. Up to 1.35 inches of rain has fallen in the last 30 minutes near Sulphur Springs. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly. This may impact the Thompson Ridge burn scar including but not limited to Sulphur Creek Road, Sulphur Springs, Freelove Canyon, Mormon Canyon, Deer Canyon, Valles Caldera Preserve Headquarters, Redondo Creek, and Redondo Peak area.

Here It Comes

Thunder and lightening, and streams of water pouring down on the Nacimientos as seen from the Red Rocks.

About time.

Fourth of July in Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs lived up to its high standards this fourth of July. A huge, spirited parade wove its way down the highway in the village with the sidewalk and shoulders lined with spectators.

When it was over the crowds drifted into the village plaza, and milled around the great selection of stalls.

Congratulations to the organizers, the “paraders” and to the crowds in attendance for making this a great day. Here are some images from this morning:

Photos R.W.

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Know-Before-You-Go and Celebrate the Fourth in the National Forest

By Julie Anne Overton


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is ready to welcome the large number of visitors who traditionally celebrate Independence Day weekend in the great outdoors.  But if you decide to take advantage of the recreational opportunities on the SFNF, it’s always good to “Know Before You Go” (

The SFNF remains in Stage 1 fire restrictions.  Campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds and picnic areas with established fire rings and grills.  Smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of all flammable materials.  Fire prevention teams will be patrolling, and anyone who violates Stage 1 restrictions will be ticketed.

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Farmers Market News

By Jennifer Olson


Yes! There will be a market this Saturday with the usual suspects, and maybe some surprises. The past few weeks we have had a number of great goods passing through our market, but I don’t know what different special things will be there this week, so you’ll just have to come find out for yourselves.

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District Calendar Reminders for Jemez Valley Public Schools

By Joline Cruz-Madalena

Programs Coordinator for Indian Education, JEMEZ VALLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

August 7th – 1st Day of School


Registration for 2017-2018 will take place in July 2017.  All new and returning students from Pre-K to 12th grade must be registered by their parent/guardian.  All students are required to attend registration with their parent/guardian.  Registration packets must be completed on-site.  New students must provide a copy of their recent immunization record and birth certificate.

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Ice Blobs Fall on Parched Landscape

Welcome hail from heaven (the penny came from my pocket), followed by a brief shower, followed by an even better shower, brought some relief to the Red Rocks area of the Jemez, which has been missing most of the recent outbursts of rain.

Photo taken at great risk of being beaned by one of those. I hope everyone appreciates my courageous, self-sacrificing photo report.

Public Meeting on New Bridge Reconstruction in Jemez Springs


The New Mexico Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting to obtain input on the proposed NM Highway 4 bridge reconstruction project. This concerns the bridge located at the northern end of the village, just past the Jemez District Ranger Station and before Soda Dam, at mile marker 19.

The meeting will be held in the Madonna Hall, 0040 Legion Drive, Jemez Springs, today (Wednesday, June 21, 2017) from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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Nukes and  Marshmallows

By R.W.

Last year, for the third year in a row, the Energy Department and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board listed the possibility of an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction (criticality) in our neighboring town of Los Alamos as one of the most pressing problems facing the nuclear weapons program.

In a field of zero tolerance for mistakes, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) appears to be performing a high risk act at great cost not just to its employees, as in the possibility offered above, but also to neighboring communities, the country’s taxpayers and possibly to the whole planet. We in the Jemez are one of those neighboring communities, and liable to be among the first to suffer the consequences of the culture of neglect that pervades the lab. There is no emergency notification system for all of us that live in the backyard of the lab, we need to be prepared for surprises, but it would at least be nice to know what these might be.

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