North Crest Fire – Cibola National Forest – 7/6/17 8:00 p.m

Albuquerque, NM, July 6, 2017 – Crews made good progress today constructing fire line and using natural barriers to begin containing the North Crest Fire.  The fire is burning in heavy mixed conifer fuels approximately ¾ mile north of the communication towers on the Sandia Crest.  A full suppression strategy is being used, but heavy fuels and dead standing trees pose too much of a hazard for firefighters to use direct suppression tactics.  To minimize the risk of firefighter injuries or fatalities, an indirect “confine and contain” suppression strategy is being used.  A combination of fire line and natural barriers will be used to restrict the fire’s growth.

The fire is estimated to be approximately 20 acres in size.  Helicopters are supporting the crews with water drops.  Air tankers are not being used at this time because the slurry is not effective in this fuel type.

No residential evacuations have been initiated.  As a precautionary measure to keep the public and firefighters safe, the Crest Highway is closed at the 10 K Recreation Site.  Only emergency vehicles are allowed to travel beyond that point.

All of the trailheads and backcountry trails along the Crest Highway are closed.  The La Luz Trail remains open to the point where it intersects with the Crest Trail.  The Piedra Lisa South Trail also remains open.  All trails east of the Piedra Lisa Trail are closed.

Smoke will be visible as the fire continues to grow and move toward the defined containment lines.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but lightning is suspected.

Information about the North Crest Fire is available at 505-346-3823 and 505-346-3870.  Additional updates will be sent as new information is reported.

Donna Nemeth
Public Affairs Officer

Forest Service

Cibola National Forest


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