Magdalena, NM; June 9, 2016 – The North fire on the Magdalena Ranger District continues to increase in size and is now 14,508 acres; 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.
Hand ignitions continued yesterday along FR 138 north, which is locally known as the “Crest Road.” Aerial and hand ignitions continue to be planned daily as weather permits. The North fire is a managed low intensity fire, creeping along the ground, and backing down ridge lines to improve forest health. According to the North Fire Resource Advisor, by applying fire in this manner, the large accumulation of woody debris on the forest floor is consumed. This essentially reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire which would kill tree canopy, and result in loss of forested habitat for perhaps hundreds of years which would impact numerous wildlife species including elk, mule deer, song birds, and the Mexican spotted owl.
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 118 personnel assigned to the incident.
The weather forecast for the next two days will bring the possibility for afternoon and evening thunderstorms with a chance of dry lightning. Smoke will 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/