Wildfire Threatens Cultural, Sacred Sites In New Mexico
By Carrie Jung
June 05, 2013

via InciWeb.org
The Thompson Ridge Fire is threatening Redondo Peak in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Thompson Ridge Fire burning in the mountains of northern New Mexico saw significant activity overnight, growing to more than 14 square miles. The fire, which is still only 5 percent contained, is threatening multiple cultural sites in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Officials say the increased activity came as a surprise to fire fighters Tuesday night, pushing the blaze eastward towards the preserve's Ranch Headquarters.

The fire also threatened Redondo Peak, a site considered to be sacred by multiple Native American tribes. However, Valles Caldera spokesman Terry McDermott says firefighters were able to protect most of the culturally sensitive areas.

"Redondo Peak is a very important shrine to many tribes in the area and has been for several thousand years. I think the best way to put it is that this is their church. But we are at the mercy of the wind and the fire," McDermott said.

Crews continue to make progress containing the Tres Lagunas Fire, also burning in northern New Mexico. The 14-square-mile blaze is now 15 percent contained.