Carson National Forest Prepares to Utilize Bonita Fire for Multiple Resource Objectives

IMG_1109[1]El Rito, NM – June 8, 2017 – For Immediate Release. Fire managers on the Carson National Forest have begun assessment and preparation to manage the lightning-caused Bonita Fire on the El Rito Ranger District to achieve multiple resource objectives on the landscape. Based on current and forecasted conditions, fire personnel could manage up to a 4,600 acre area over the next several days starting Monday June 12. If conditions change, fire managers will reassess their strategy for the Bonita Fire.
Lightning struck the Bonita Canyon nine miles north of the community of Cañon Plaza and was discovered on June 3, 2017. Fire managers monitored the Bonita Fire as it burned at low intensity while they analyzed its potential to benefit forest health in a fire-adapted ecosystem.
Fire is a natural occurring component of a variety of ecosystems, which include plants and animals that interact with one another and with their physical environment. Historically in the summertime, fire played a role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem, and the intention of managing a wildfire is to return fire to its natural place in the ecosystem.
The objectives for managing the Bonita Fire include protecting nearby communities through mitigating the risk of high-intensity wildfire by reducing forest fuels, enhancing wildlife habitat by reducing dense understories and increasing forbs/forage and improving forest and watershed health. The Bonita Fire is burning in ponderosa pine, grass understory, piñon pine/juniper, and mixed conifer in higher elevations. Strategic and tactical decisions for utilizing this fire to benefit the landscape are based on the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS). The forest’s first priority is always firefighter and public safety. Other priorities for the Bonita Fire include protecting and preserving the multiple archaeological and cultural sites in the area.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Smoke may be visible from the communities of Cañon Plaza, Vallecitos, La Madera, and El Rito, and may continue to be visible. For fire information, please call the El Rito Ranger District at (575) 581-4554 during normal business hours, or visit the Carson National Forest Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNF or Twitter @CarsonNF.

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