Carson National Forest Bonita Wildfire Update 06/20/2017

Clean Air Shelter to Open Tonight

Location: El Rito Ranger District

Bonita Canyon, 3 miles north of Cañon Plaza

Size: Approx. 6406 acres   Cause: Lightning

Containment:  50%     Start Date: June 3, 2017

El Rito, NM, June 20, 2017—For Immediate Release. Because of continued smoke impacts from the Bonita Fire, Rio Arriba County will open a clean air shelter today at the Rural Events Center, on Highway 554 one-half mile north of its junction with Highway 84.  The shelter will be staffed by the American Red Cross and will be open 24 hours a day, starting at 7 P.M. tonight (Tuesday).  Beds will be provided for people who want to stay overnight.  For more information call the Rio Arriba County Emergency Management Office (M-F from 8 to 5), 505-747-1941.  After hours call the Española/Rio Arriba Regional Communications Center, 505-753-5555.

Yesterday fire fighters continued with operations on the north side of Forest Road 45, which help reduce the intensity of the fire by robbing the advancing fire of fuel.  A lower intensity fire also produces less smoke. As conditions permit, crews will continue to burn out off Forest Road 45.  When that section is complete, the plan is to burn out off of a bulldozer-constructed fire line near the community of Cañon Plaza.  When complete, the roads, bulldozer and hand-built fire lines, in combination with the burn outs will aid in achieving the overall fire objectives.

As a result of the burn outs, residents will see more smoke in Vallecitos Canyon and surrounding communities.  The highest concentrations usually occur around sunrise.  If your health is affected from smoke exposure, the New Mexico Department of Health advises you relocate to an area with clean air or to keep windows closed.  Information regarding air quality and health protection is at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:

The Bonita Fire is now 50% contained, but more hot and dry weather is ahead with the possibility of gusty winds from scattered thunderstorms.  The scattered thunderstorms are not projected to produce much rain.  The storms can, however, produce lightning and strong, erratic winds.  The lightning can start new fires and the winds can cause rapid growth on the existing fire, if the winds align with receptive fuels and terrain.

A closure order for those lands located within the boundaries of the Bonita Fire Area remains in effect until further notice.  For information regarding the forest closure contact the El Rito Ranger District at (575) 581-4554.

For fire information, please contact us via email at or call the Bonita Fire Information Line at (505) 501 8509 from 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., or visit Inciweb, Carson National Forest Facebook page or Twitter @CarsonNF.

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