Magdalena, NM; June 8, 2016 – After two weeks as Incident Commander, Mike Smith has transferred command of the North Fire to new Incident Commander Scott Schrenk. This transfer of command is routine during fires that are predicted to burn for a long period of time. The fire on the Magdalena Ranger District is now 12,495 acres and is at 20% containment. Acreage will 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 continues to be actively managed for multiple resource benefits.
Aerial ignitions continued yesterday on the north and east side of fire. Hand ignitions along the west side of the fire along FR 138 which is locally known as the “Crest Road” continue toward the north. Aerial and hand 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. Once again today 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 burn intensity. Fire managers will 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 currently 121 personnel assigned to the incident. This number will fluctuate as resources time out and replacement resources arrive.
The weather forecast for the next two days is expected to be hotter before another predicted system comes through this weekend. Smoke may 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 www.nmfireinfo.com , Twitter:@Cibola_NF, www.facebook.com/cibolanf, and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/