Magdalena, NM; June 7, 2016 – The North Fire on the Magdalena Ranger District grew by 240 acres to 8,151 acres and is at 20% containment. Acreage is expected to increase daily as ignition operations continue. The lightning-caused fire started on May 21st and is located in the San Mateo Mountains, 25 miles southwest of Magdalena, NM. It is being actively managed for multiple resource benefits.
Aerial and hand ignitions were used yesterday morning on the east side of the fire but precipitation hampered these operations in the afternoon. Hand ignitions along the west side of the fire along of FR 138 which is locally known as the “Crest Road” have reached the Water Canyon trailhead and continuing north. Ignitions continue to be planned daily as weather permits. These operations will be used to establish beneficial low-intensity fires from ridge tops and control lines. This low intensity fire improves forest health by removing hazardous fuels, creating a more diverse landscape, and reducing the potential for high-intensity catastrophic fires; however, all fire, even low intensity fire, produces smoke. There is the possibility that drift smoke from the Luera Prescribed burn on state land and the 74 Burn on the Gila National Forest may cause shading over the North Fire today slowing burning intensity.
Fire managers continue to assess the fire behavior and effects of the North Fire to insure incident objectives are being met. The southeastern perimeter of the fire remains in patrol/monitor status. There are 78 personnel assigned to the incident. The number of personnel will fluctuate as resources time out and replacement resources arrive.
The weather forecast for the next two days is expected to be hotter and dryer before another predicted system comes through for the weekend. Smoke may to be visible from US Highway 60 west of Magdalena, NM. Communities surrounding Magdalena, NM continue to experience drifting smoke and haze in the afternoon and evenings. The New Mexico Department of Health provides a visibility test to determine smoke impacts in your area at: https://nmtracking.org/fire. The New Mexico Air Quality Bureau has placed a smoke monitor at the Magdalena Ranger District Administrative Site, located off County Road 107, in Magdalena, NM. The smoke monitoring website is: http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx
A temporary Area Closure Order has been issued for the vicinity of the North Fire. All National Forest System lands, roads, and trails within the closure area are closed to public use.
For more information, please contact the Magdalena Ranger District at 575-854-2281, or visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at http://www.nmfireinfo.com , Twitter:@Cibola_NF, http://www.facebook.com/cibolanf, and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/