Rain helps dampen 36,000 acre Ute Park Fire

Evacuation order lifted for Cimarron residents; Ute Park residents still on mandatory evacuation


4:30 update - Since Cimarron residents have been allowed to return home, voters from Cimarron and Ute Park will be able to vote at Cimarron City Hall on Primary Election Day Tuesday (June 5).

Ute Park and the Village of Cimarron voters who can also cast a provisional ballot at the Raton Convention Center located at 901 S. 3rd Street or at the Eagle Nest Community Center, 151 Willow Creek Drive.

12:50 p.m. update - Cimarron residents are being allowed to return home today (June 4) with the threat from the Ute Park blaze abated. Ute Park residents are still under a mandatory evacuation order. Cimarron residents are being allowed to return home in phases, with the first group allowed to return at noon, according to fire officials on NMfireinfo.com.

U.S. 64 between Cimarron and Eagle Nest remains closed.

Along with a 4 p.m. community meeting in Angel Fire, there will be a 2 p.m. meeting at the Eagle Nest village offices.

Rain from a thunderstorm Sunday night helped damp down the Ute Park Fire in northeastern New Mexico, now estimated at 36,114 acres.

Fire managers still considered the fire only 23 percent contained Monday morning and warned a return of warm, dry weather will increase fire risks again. The cause of the Ute Park Fire is still undetermined and remains under investigation, according to the latest report on Inciweb. 

Fire, county and local officials have scheduled a community meeting today (June 4) at 4 p.m. at the Angel Fire Community Center, 15 CS Ranch RoadThe meeting will be livestreamed at https://facebook.com/uteparkfireinfo.

Firefighters continued to increase their control of the fire on the east and south flanks of the blaze by burning off vegetation and creating a fire line. Firefighters are mopping up "hot spots," places with embers that could still spread the fire.

A mandatory evacuation order is still in effect for the Cimarron area and Ute Park. Approximately 550 structures are threatened in the Cimarron area and 219 in Ute Park, according to officials. So far, firefighters have prevented the blaze from reaching any homes. 

Fourteen unoccupied outbuildings burned May 31 on the Philmont Ranch.

Laura Gonzales, a Cimarron village councilor, posted on the town's information Facebook page at 9 a.m. that the town is working with officials on a plan for when residents can return home. In meantime, she said, the village is on Stage 4 critical water restrictions. 

The Red Cross continues to have a shelter open at the Eagle Nest Senior Center at 74 N. Tomboy Drive. The New Mexico Chapter of the American Red Cross is also supporting the City of Raton's shelter at the Raton Convention Center, 901S. 3rd Street. Evacuees are welcome at either shelter.

The Food Depot central food bank in Santa Fe began sending food and supplies to Raton June 1 for first responders and evacuees. The Depot sent 8,660 pounds of food to or the equivalent of 7,217 meals for distribution.

"As the food bank serving Colfax County, The Food Depot is ready to supply emergency food and water to first responders and those affected by the fire," said Sherry Hooper, executive director of The Food Depot, in a statement. "We have a disaster plan in place to respond to any emergency situation in any of our nine counties," Hooper said.