The dry vegetation and cotton from cottonwood trees is very flammable. Here's what know about fire danger in the summer. Wochit

San Juan County fire officials believe the Arroyo Fire, which has been burning near the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and County Road 4800, will be fully contained soon.


FARMINGTON — The Arroyo Fire is expected to be fully contained soon, and as the blaze wound down a crew at the fire scene recovered a lost family pet — a tortoise assumed lost to the fire.

The fire burned east of Bloomfield near the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and County Road 4800. It was about 90 percent contained as of the morning of July 3, according to San Juan County Spokesperson Devin Neeley. It was expected to be fully contained that evening.

The fire caused no reported injuries.

Pet tortoise found

The San Juan County Fire Facebook page posted several photos of the tortoise on the afternoon of July 2 which had been nicknamed "Torchy."

PREVIOUSLY: The Arroyo Fire east of Bloomfield is 30 percent contained

When the fire was started, one of the people who had called dispatch to report the fire was on a walk with the tortoise. One of the inmate crews from New Mexico State Forestry working the fire July 2 found the tortoise in good health.

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Fire officials did not know the tortoise's name. Neeley did not have any additional details.

Fire nearly contained

The fire, about five miles east of Bloomfield. has not burned any new structures or vehicles since July 2. It was started on the afternoon of July 1.

A total of three residential structures including two mobile homes along with 30 vehicles and at least five outbuildings were burned. Three families were displaced from their homes.

The fire was human-caused and not firework-related, and its cause is still under investigation.

PREVIOUSLY: Firefighters battle fire east of Bloomfield; several structures burned

Cotton from cottonwood trees helped the fire spread. Heavy buildups of cotton acted as an accelerant, catching salt cedar, cottonwood and Russian olive trees on fire.  

The San Juan County Fire Department responded to the call, along with fire crews from Bloomfield, the Bureau of Land Management, Farmington, Los Pinos Fire and the New Mexico State Forestry.

As many as 50 fire personnel and more than a dozen fire trucks responded to the blaze.

As many as 30 fire personnel were at the fire scene the morning of July 3.

Red Cross responding to victims

The regional Red Cross resource center is working to provide assistance for the victims who lost their homes, according to Paige Connelly, the San Juan County Disaster Program Manager for the Northwest Chapter of the New Mexico American Red Cross.

She has received information about the clients from the county fire marshal and has made contact with one of the three families.

Connelly has left messages with the other two families and hopes to speak with them as soon as possible.

A volunteer is going to meet one of the families on the afternoon of July 3.

Those interested in helping the families can contact the local Red Cross office at 505-288-3544.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

Read or Share this story: