The School Fire at 7,315 Acres

Reserve, NM; July 17, 2016 – The School Fire on the Reserve Ranger District remains actively burning within the management perimeter; with 70% containment. The fire was started by lightning on July 8, 2016 near the junction of Snow Lake and Willow Creek along Forest Road 28 (Bursum Road) and County Road CAT-CO21 (Snow Lake Road), about 50 miles southeast of Reserve, NM. Multiple objectives are being met at this time with the School Fire. These include consuming a fair amount of dead standing snags and logs within the fire perimeter, which will provide for safer access in the future, reduce hazardous fuels, improve rangeland health and prepare the site for reforestation at a later date.

Crews were able to utilize hand fire operations on the southern boundary on Saturday to secure the fire perimeter successfully. The existing roads which are now blacked lined will assist in monitoring fire behavior, which remains to be low intensity with flames of one foot or less. Planned actions for today include holding existing lines and monitoring interior consumption from yesterday’s burnout along Snow Lake Road.

There are no campground or road closures due to fire activity. We ask that visitors drive with caution and their head lights due to thick smoke, heavy traffic, and fire personnel along the roadsides.

The same lightning storm that started the School Fire, also started the six small fires (Gilita Complex) southwest of the School Fire in the same area in the 2006 Bear Fire Scar. One of these small fires have grown to 70 acres. The Reserve Ranger District will continue to monitor this active fire within the Gilita Complex.

Resources for the School Fire include one crew and two type six engines that will also be monitoring the Gilita Complex.


For more information, please contact the Reserve Ranger District at 575-533-6231 for questions regarding these fires.

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