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The 150,041-acre Las Conchas wildfire is 61 percent contained, but areas around Cochiti Pueblo are still choked with smoke.
The skies around Santa Fe have cleared considerably. But this morning, I drove out to Cochiti Pueblo to get a feel for the fire's still-active southern end.
The air was thick with smoke, but Kathy Arnoldus with the Las Conchas fire information hotline (877-631-5241) says the smoke is due largely to preventive back-burning designed to keep the fire contained.
"We're creating a strong, deep, black line along [Forest Road] 266," Arnoldus says. "It's in the area we want it to be."
Arnoldus says there are no evacuations in effect for Cochiti area residents but that the smoke will likely persist for a few days while low-intensity preventive burning continues.
According to the most recent Las Conchas fire update, more than 1,000 people are working to contain the fire, which recently became the largest on record for the state.
Though some precipitation has fallen on the northern end of the fire's perimeter (see map bel0w), the update cautions that warmer, drier weather could exacerbate fire activity and smoke conditions. From the update:
Still, Arnoldus says, preventive burns are "going well."
On the map below, blue represents the beginning of the fire, in late June. It has since spread to the red zones, which are where the most recent activity and expansion has occurred.
The following photos were taken Friday morning near Cochiti Pueblo.