Carson National Forest Bonita Wildfire Update

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El Rito, NM, June 9, 2017—For Immediate Release. The Bonita wildfire started from a lightning strike near Bonita Canyon on the El Rito Ranger District, nine miles north of the community of Cañon Plaza. The fire was discovered on June 3, 2017. The fire is burning in ponderosa pine, grass understory, pinon pine/juniper and mixed conifer at higher elevations.

Incident command transitioned from a Type 4 to a Type 3 Incident Management Team at 1:00 P.M. today.

Fire managers monitored the Bonita Fire as it burned at low intensity while analyzing its potential to benefit forest health in a fire adapted ecosystem. Historically low intensity wildfires burned through Southwest forests at regular intervals. A 4,600 acre area was identified utilizing road systems and natural barriers. The Bonita fire is currently estimated at 280 acres. Weather forecasts for lower chances of precipitation, higher temperatures and windy conditions will influence fire behavior.

The objectives of the Bonita Fire include protecting nearby communities by reducing forest fuels to lessen the risk of high intensity wildfires, enhancing wildlife habitat by reducing dense understories while increasing the forage base and improving forest and watershed health. The Forest’s first priority is always firefighter and public safety. Additional priorities include protecting and preserving the archeological 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.  Information on air quality and protecting your health, guidance on distances and visibility please visit https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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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