Magdalena, NM; June 11, 2016 – The North fire on the Magdalena Ranger District grew in size yesterday and is now 19,806 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.
Aerial and hand ignitions continued to the east along FR 138, which is locally known as the “Crest Road”. Crews began aerial and hand ignitions earlier yesterday to take advantage of favorable weather conditions prior to possible thunderstorm development. Weather conditions over the fire allowed for aerial ignitions on ridge tops along Potato Canyon, allowing active fire behavior to back down ridge lines along the ground.
Fire behavior in mixed conifer and ponderosa pine types continued with primarily surface fire. Aerial ignitions on the east side of the fire helped to clean up interior fuel islands within the current fire perimeter. Crews conducted black line hand ignitions in the White Cap and Chavez Canyon areas on the eastern side of the fire.
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 116 personnel assigned to the incident.
The weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday calls for more cloud cover over the fire with the possibility of wetting precipitation late Saturday into Sunday. 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/