Crews make overnight progress in battling Las Tusas Fire

·2 min read

May 12—Fire crews worked throughout the night Thursday, using helicopters and air tankers, to battle the Las Tusas Fire in San Miguel County just west of Sapello.

According to a Friday morning update from the New Mexico State Forestry Division, the wildfire was still burning with no perimeter containment, though an agency spokesman said crews were making progress. The fire had scorched 969 acres of land since it ignited Wednesday afternoon.

The state agency had estimated the wildfire at over 1,000 acres Thursday.

State Forestry Division spokesman Matthew Garcia said the more accurate estimate came from overnight mapping. Crews had planned to use an aircraft with infrared technology to determine exact acreage of the wildfire, he added, but a helicopter with GPS mapping capabilities was used instead because of disruptive cloud cover Thursday night.

Fire crews took advantage of lower temperatures and calmer winds overnight, he said.

"Now they are continuing to secure the fire edge and mop up any potential threats to the fire line," Garcia said, "We have structure protection teams in place to provide protection for the homes in the area."

Garcia said he had not been provided data from the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office on how many structures had been consumed by the Las Tusas Fire as of Friday morning.

He added there would be no more official updates on the blaze Friday because of its small size.

"Things are looking really good at this point," Garcia said of containment efforts.

"As long as the weather continues to do what it's doing, and as long as we don't get any kind of crazy winds or weird events, we are progressing quite well. The crews are making significant gains in securing the fire edge and we're hoping to continue making those gains as the days go by," Garcia said. "If the weather we're expecting comes in with a moisture, that'll exacerbate how fast we progress."