Cibola NF & National Grasslands’ – The North Fire at 15,940 Acres

Magdalena, NM; June 10, 2016 – The North fire on the Magdalena Ranger District increased in size yesterday and is now 15,940 acres; at 25% 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.

Crews conducted a burnout operation around the Withington Lookout yesterday, removing hazardous fuels, and creating a more diverse landscape. Hand ignitions continued along FR 138 north, which is locally known as the “Crest Road.” Unburned pockets of remaining hazardous fuels were ignited.   The fire is still activity burning in pine and mixed conifer throughout the management area.  Fire behavior continues to smolder and creep along the ground through grass and brush.  Aerial ignitions were conducted along the ridge tops of Potato Canyon, with fire backing down ridge lines to improve forest health. Crews worked with archeologists to protect heritage resources including historic cabins, an historic spring house, and corrals.

Drifting 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 117 personnel assigned to the incident.

The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday calls for 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/

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