New Mexico Fires

Athena Intelligence
4 min readJun 21, 2024


There are some great tools available to show you where wildfires are occurring. Athena’s strength is showing where the land is predisposed to host a catastrophic wildfire well in advance of the event. This is helpful for communities and power companies that want to mitigate. But rather than show High Risk everywhere, Athena offers a nuanced perspective that includes showing where risks are lower and insurable.

This article is based on Athena’s risk assessments on June 20th, 2024 — As we watch several large fires (South Fork and Salt Fires) in the southern part of the state. As it write this (10:30 AM on 6/20) the fires are 0% contained, involve 22 Crews of firemen, 87 Engines, 15 dozers, and 16 water tenders. Utility services — including electricity, water, internet and phones — remain shutdown across the South Fork and Salt fires. Power and service outages will continue to impact communications, making it difficult to contact residents and visitors in the area.

The weather has cooled a bit and fire conditions appear to be moderating. Firefighters will continue constructing firelines and utilizing hand crews and bulldozers to protect homes, properties and critical infrastructure. Crews on the South Fork fire continue engage he fire with hand tools directly at its edge, utilizing hose along handlines and dozer lines to extinguish smoldering fuels and building fireline with machinery.

It is relatively easy to show where the wildfire risk is — and most of Athena’s customers want to know where the risk is well in advance of wildfire to prevent it from becoming a danger to humans and property.

But the insurance industry asks a different question — where are the risks low and the acceptable business risks?

Most of today’s fires are in the southern, drier part of New Mexico. We wanted to show examples of lower risk area in New Mexico. The first image shows the risk for the next 12 months, as of January 2024, in an area of northern New Mexico.

Then a fire occured in the area shown — the Indos fire was a few weeks ago. The Indos Fire ran from May 19 to June 2.

The wildfire risk assessment, as of today is shown below. For our clients in New Mexico, we ran a quarterly report on June 15th.

Athena profiles the land using artificial intelligence to analyze the conditional and geospatial information. The Indos fire created a burn scar. This changed the conditions and the area around the wildfire now has less nearby fuel and, therefore, a lower risk.

This map shows both the Indos Fire footprint and the impact on the risk in the area around the burn scar:

For an insurer, each location has a very specific probability of being inside the footprint of a wildfire. Most are interested in the Green or Dark Green areas (you can see them here), but some want the higher premiums associated with Yellow or even Orange. Fortunately, most Dark Red, Highest Risk areas are uninhabited — so no one is seeking insurance. The challenge is that fires in the highest risk areas can spread and become megafires.

If you want to understand which locations won’t burn in New Mexico, or any state, reach out to Athena Intelligence.

Conditional Profiles in New Mexico that have not burned since 2018

Accurate and mathematically precise information about future wildfire risk will make informed decisions by underwriters and engineers. For more examples of how the information can be used, please visit the Case Studies at

Athena Intelligence is a data vendor with a geospatial, conditional, profiling tool that pulls together vast amounts of disaggregated wildfire and environmental data to generate spatial intelligence, resulting in a digital fingerprint of wildfire risk. (website:

Clients include electric utilities, communities, insurance and financial services companies, where Athena’s geospatial intelligence incorporated into wildfire mitigation plans (WMP) and public safety power shutoffs (PSPS), Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP), property insurance underwriting and portfolio risk optimization.

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Athena Intelligence

Athena Intelligence weaves vast amounts of disaggregated environmental data. Drop us a line (, or visit