Big Hole Fire Updates and Information


The Big Hole Fire is now 95% contained and we still have resources continuing work in that area.


April 18th

The fire is now 80% contained and crews will be out working today. There are 77 personnel still assigned to this fire.

April 15th Big Hole Fire Update

The Big Hole Fire, located on state and private land in the Belen Bosque in Valencia County, is now 60% contained and estimated at 890 acres. Fire activity is minimal with smoldering and some active heat in heavier interior fuels (trees/logs). Crews will continue to mop up hot spots and remove trees that pose a hazard to the public. Crews will remain on the scene through the weekend. Pilgrims heading to Tome Hill will see advisories to avoid the fire area via electronic signs and bulletin boards through Sunday.

  • The Type 3 team assigned to the fire will be transitioning operations back to the NM Forestry Division on Saturday 04/16
  • 1 home and 18 outbuildings were destroyed.
  • There are no reports of injuries or fatalities for the Big Hole Fire.
  • 77 personnel remain on the fire

April 14th

The Big Hole Fire, located on state and private land in the Belen Bosque in Valencia County, is now 51% contained and estimated at 890 acres.

The reduction in acres comes after better mapping. The fire is currently smoldering with minimal activity. The Forestry Division, Valencia County Fire Department, and numerous other fire agencies continue to work on strengthening containment lines around the fire.
Rehabilitation of fire breaks created by bulldozers and removal of hazardous trees with significant fire damage is underway.

There are no evacuations in place for this fire. One home and 18 outbuildings were destroyed in the early stages of the fire. The cause is under investigation.

As of 5pm April 13th

The fire is 40% contained, and 904 acres have burned.
Bureau of Land Management, State and US Forestry will be continuing to work the fire through the weekend.
Please stay out of the fire area, as crews will be working and cutting down dangerous trees and branches.
No evacuations are ordered, and all roads are open.
Again, we appreciate the support from the community.

**April 13th Update**

From Valencia County Fire Department

Crews have done a great job over the past 24 hours of getting a handle on the progression of the fire, even during high winds yesterday.
We were able to get a lot of work done on the containment lines yesterday and last night. At this time, the fire has remained in the containment areas.
We have a Type 1 helicopter that will be working the area today, and we will be getting more up to date mapping of the fire area. Our hope is to be able to provide a true containment percentage this afternoon, but as stated, the fire has remained within our containment lines.

There are no current evacuations ordered, and there are no road closures in the area.

Today is a Red Flag Day, so we will continue to be aggressive in controlling the fire. We will provide another update this afternoon with more information. Thank you for the support you have shown our crews and our community~

**Tuesday, April 12th evening Update **

The Big Hole Fire, located on state and private land in Belen, Valencia County, is now estimated at 900 acres and 0% contained.

Evacuations have been lifted and are currently only voluntary. One residence and 18 outbuildings (sheds, barns) burned in the fire.

Approximately 90 acres of the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area (WWCA) land area is also impacted.

Firefighters will continue to secure a line around the fire and address hot spots tonight. The cause remains under investigation.

Weather: Wind gusts reached up to 43 miles per hour today with relative humidity at 16%. Red Flag conditions are expected again tomorrow (04/13).

Individuals sensitive to wildfire smoke should take precautions and use the New Mexico Department of Health 5-3-1 Visibility Method to determine if it’s safe to be outside.

Learn more at 

**Tuesday, April 12th 4:30pm Big Hole Fire Update from New Conference**

Multiple agencies are fighting the Big Hole Fire in Valencia County near Rio Communities. As of Tuesday morning, the fire has burned 850 acres and has burned 19 structures, including one home. One firefighter was injured in the fire, but is back at home and doing well.

Fire officials say they will continue to build containment lines around the fire. Around 200 structures are threatened by the fire at this time. The fire has impacted 75% of the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area.A Type 1 helicopter has been ordered to help assist in fighting the fire, but strong winds that are forecast could delay those efforts.

The Valencia County Board of Commissioners met in an emergency meeting to formally declare a disaster in Valencia County due to the fire.


The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office has two evacuation teams on standby, ready to begin evacuations if necessary. The sheriff’s office says they are mostly seeing reports of smoke. Deputies advise that those with respiratory problems may need to relocate due to the smoke.

Those who choose to voluntarily evacuate may relocate to the Belen Recreation Center at 305 Eagle Lane.

The sheriff’s office says evacuations could happen at any time and residents should be prepared. They have already contacted residents on Silva Road and Sedillo Drive as that is the area currently threatened by the fire to the North.

**Tuesday, April 12th 10am Big Hole Fire Update from Valencia County Fire Department** As of this morning, the fire is at approx. 850 acres. 19 structures had been damaged/destroyed. Crews report only one residence at this time, with the other 18 being outbuildings (sheds, barns, etc). We will have a team out this afternoon to do a more detailed damage assessment. We have crews from VCFD, state, regional and local agencies. Air assets have been requested again today, and we will try to utilize them as able with the wind. Evacuations have been lifted, and are voluntary at this point. If you have respiratory issues or health concerns, the shelter at the Belen Rec Center is still active. Please continue to stay out of the area if you do not need to be there. Unfortunately, we are still in Red Flag weather conditions today, so we will be working diligently to stay ahead of the fire.

****Fire Update from the Valencia County Fire Department****Crews made good progress last night, and were able to place some solid fire lines. VCFD units along with State and regional resources are back on the line this morning. Today is forecasted for critical fire weather and high winds (gusts close to 50mph) so we will be working aggressively to stay on top of the fire. We will post another update at 0930.

Resources for Displaced Families

If any displaced families need anything they can come to the Belen Community Center. We have water, food, toiletries, pillows, towels, pampers.

Any displaced families that need pet assistance can go to Valencia county animal shelter or contact Vidal Torres at (505)205-8493.

Resources from the Valencia County News Bulletin

Here are some online and mobile resources to keep up to date on the Big Hole Fire:

-Sign up for emergency alerts through AlertSense from Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center via text message, email, pager, or voice call (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. There is also an app available – myAlert – for Android and iOS.

-New Mexico Forestry DivisionWildfire Information

-Valencia County Fire Department Facebook page