Lincoln National Forest – 5/26/2018 – Kellar Fire Update: 9:30 pm

Incident Name – Kellar Fire

Fire Update: 5/26/2018, 9:30 pm

Jurisdiction: Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe Ranger District

Date/Time Detected: 5/22/2018, 9:52am

Location: Northeast of Queen, NM

Lat/Long: Lat: 32°,12′,42.92″, Lon: 104°,40′,45.47″

Legal Description: T24S, R22E, SWSW Sec 14

Firefighting Resources: Type 3 Incident Management Team, 3 Hot Shot Crews, 2 Type-3 Engines, 5 Type-6 Engines, 2 Water Tenders, 1 Helicopter Module. Total Personnel: 128

Values at Risk: Community of Queen, NM, Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, Forage

Hazards: Heat, Terrain

Fuels:  Pinon/Juniper, brush and grass

Size: 9 acres

Containment: 0%

Cause: Lightning

Closures: The FR 68 system and Trailhead 68 at Sitting Bull Falls.

5/26/18 9:30pm Status: Fire crews have been putting fire lines in place around the community of Queen, NM. Work is ongoing and the lines are almost complete. Engine personnel continue to monitor the fire.

Today, crews started firing operations on the east side of Gilson Canyon and will continue moving west. This operation will begin adjacent to the Guadalupe Ranger District Administrative site.

Fire officials will delay heavy ignitions until Tuesday to minimize smoke at Sitting Bull Falls over Memorial Day weekend. The FR 68 system and Trailhead 68, at Sitting Bull Falls, are closed to public use for the safety of the public and firefighters.

5/26/18 9:00 am Status: The Pecos Zone (PEZ) Type III Incident Management Team took over management of the Kellar Fire at 8:00 am this morning. There are currently 75 personnel assigned to the incident from the U. S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and New Mexico State Forestry. Additional resources have been ordered and will be assigned to the fire as they arrive.

Fire officials will use a combination of tactics including directing the fire west and containment to the east to avoid fire moving past Forest Service boundaries. The fire is slow, creeping with low intensity, allowing firefighters to maneuver the fire through the planned area.

The area to the west of the fire has not been grazed for a year and has fine fuels (grasses) and various tree/shrub species. Fire officials are working with the range permittees to avoid undesired disturbance of certain grassy areas. The community of Queen, NM will have its northern boundary prepared with a thinning initiative and later with fire, to reduce the potential of future wildfire fire impacts and increase the safety of the community.

5/25/2018 9:30 pm Status: The Kellar Fire is burning with low intensity in grass and Pinon/Juniper vegetation in the Guadalupe Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. Fire officials will continue with the plan to use this natural ignition to restore fire to the landscape and achieve multiple resource benefits.

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern forests every seven to 15 years as part of a natural cycle that removed debris and made room for new growth. Managing a lightning-caused ignition like the Kellar Fire mimics that natural process. The goal is to use fire to remove water-drawing plant species and ensure larger volumes of grazing materials for cattle in the future.

Today, crews constructed fire line around the north side of Queen, NM in preparation for ongoing fire activity over the coming days.

5/25/18, 10:30am Status: The Lincoln National Forest has brought in a Type 3 Incident Management Team to assume command of the Kellar Fire, which was reported on May 22, 2018, and was caused by a lightning strike. The Type-3 Team and Forest Service officials will continue to assess the fire, values at risk, terrain and weather to determine the optimal trajectory of the fire. Objectives for today’s operations are to construct fire line north of Queen, NM.  The fire held in size overnight.  Wednesday brought rain to the fire, however as we move into the weekend firefighters can expect warm temperatures. Fire activity is described as low to moderate. The next fire update will be posted this evening at approximately 8 pm.

5/24/2018 Status: A lightning strike started the low-intensity Kellar Fire, giving fire managers on the Lincoln National Forest the opportunity to use a natural ignition to restore fire to the landscape and achieve multiple resource benefits.

The Kellar Fire is approximately 9 acres just northeast of Queen, NM. Fire managers looked at the fire’s location, conditions on the ground, and historic fire behavior to assess risks and predict fire behavior. The analysis determined that the Kellar Fire is a good candidate to manage for multiple objectives, including mitigating the risk of future high-intensity wildfire and improving long-term forest health.

A Type-3 incident management team, three hot shot crews and two engines were ordered to the fire to support fire operations, which will increase in activity over the next 4-5 days. The next fire update will be mid-morning tomorrow.

5/23/18 Status: Firefighters responded to the Kellar Fire shortly after it was reported yesterday morning. The 4-acre fire was determined to be lightning-caused and is smoldering in pinon juniper and desert scrub. The Kellar Fire is located in the burn scar of the Last Chance Fire of 2011.  Precipitation today kept fire activity low. Firefighters will return to the scene tomorrow to continue fire operations.

Regarding smoke, in the event of a prescribed fire or wildfire: If visibility becomes lower because of smoke, please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page:

A public meeting has been set for Sunday, May 27 at 6:00 pm at the Queen Fire Department. For further information on the public meeting please email

PIO: Laura Rabon,   575-434-7211.     Loretta Benavidez,  575-430-5546

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