Update on the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, May 22

The fire has slowed, but it is still working it’s way west.

Here’s yesterday’s progression map:

This is the scale of it now:

Evacuations are ordered for the north part of Pecos – everything on Rt 63 north of the monastery. So Holy Ghost, Tres Lagunas, El Macho and Lower La Posada in the Pecos Canyon.

The fire has still not reached most of the thru-hike, but I get very little consolation from that. Our own well here is having severe trouble, so while I am profoundly grateful to still have a house and not be under evacuation orders, nothing feels safe.

The one section of the thru-hike that has burned is between Tres Piedras creek and Angostura. Angostura has mostly burned. The fire has worked its way up about half the Knob and is moving toward Ripley Point. The little pond of Los Estrellos is still okay, though. For now.

There is a trail that continues north from Ripley Point, rather than going down and west as the current path of the thru-hike goes. There is probably a way around the existing burn via that north-pointing trail, then down towards Tres Ritos. I haven’t scoured hiking maps or other sources yet, mostly because this whole thing makes me sick and I’m surprised I’m even writing this. Also because this thing isn’t done yet. And finally because it seems heartless to be plotting a thru-hike while people’s homes are still getting torched. It seems appropriate now that at least part of the hike should go through the burn, if only to acknowledge what’s happened this year.

Romero Lake is still mostly unburnt, which is surprising.

And the fire has not moved much further north. Cerra Olla looks okay so far, and the intersection of Duran Road where I camped after getting through the fire zone on 76 (back in 2018) is still okay.

And the fire is still 7.5 miles away from East Pecos Baldy Lake.

It is only about 7.8 miles from Truchas Lake.

The outlook for the fires is not great, but it could be worse. We have 2,200 people valiantly fighting it, but their field commander says he’s never seen a fire like this.

There is rain in the forecast. Not a lot, and less than what was predicted, but it’s something.

I was at a fancy dinner in town Wednesday night last week and a woman told me that there was a team of Native American fire fighters working along with the other teams near Las Vegas. They taught the out-of-town fire fighters how to do a rain dance, and they did it all together. And it rained, reportedly, 1.25 inches within the hour.

It’s the sort of thing I want to verify, of course. And then I feel bad to question it. Hallelujah either way, right?

Prescribed burns have been put on hold by the forest service until they’ve reviewed their methodology. This is me not saying anything about that.

It’s awful. The whole thing is awful. But there is rain in the forecast. And thank God for the fire fighters.

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