Gila National Forest – Update on Buzzard Fire for June 14, 2018

Increased Smoke Due to Firing Operations

June 14, 2018 Daily Update

Acres: 44,402                                                                             Start Date: May 22, 2018

Cause: Human-caused                                                                              Location: 10 miles NE of Reserve, NM (Gila NF)

Containment: 74%                                                                     Fuels: Timber (litter, grass and understory)

Total Personnel: 384                                                                 


General Information: As control lines were connected and completed on the southwest side of the fire, crews conducted firing operations to burn out and secure the lines. These operations along with the fire burning in heavier fuels increased the smoke in the air on Wednesday.  Local residents can expect a greater amount of smoke settling into low land areas during the evening and early morning hours. Firefighters continue to monitor the fire’s progression and prepare for further firing operations as needed to keep up with the fire’s spread.


Fire Operations: On the northwest corner of the fire, crews used a combination of aerial and hand firing operations to burn out and secure the control lines.  Firefighters patrolled and mopped up along the lines throughout the day.  The control line between Piney Tank and Flattop Mesa was completed.  Now all lines surrounding the fire are tied in.  With cloud cover over the burn area during Wednesday afternoon, fire activity moderated and continued to slowly back down Salthouse Canyon.  Suppression repair, including reestablishing drainage, smoothing out edges created by dozers, and placing brush over dozer lines continued on the eastern side.


Fire Safety Awareness: With heavy rain predicted for the next few days, flash flooding from burned areas can quickly fill arroyos and stream beds.  Drivers need to be aware of flooded stream crossings and NOT drive through them.  The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water.  Roads covered by water are prone to collapse.  Attempting to drive through flooded areas also may stall your engine.  If you come upon a flooded road, take an alternate route.


Fire Weather: Cooler temperatures, a rise in relative humidity, along with increased cloud cover, will bring a good chance of rain on Thursday.   Today’s showers and thundershowers may deliver spotty rainfall to the fire area this afternoon.  Heavy rain is predicted for Friday and Saturday as moisture is funneled up from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bud.  The region looks to dry out beginning on Sunday.


Closures: The area around the fire will remain closed for public safety until lifted by the Gila National Forest. Roadblocks have been set up by local law enforcement. In support of this closure, the Continental Divide Trail has been rerouted around the fire closures. The trail reroute map is available at More closure information is available at For information on Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, please visit


Smoke Situation: As the fire continues to back slowly toward containment lines, moderate amounts of smoke are expected, causing impacts to populated areas. Ranches to the south and the down-drainage area near Reserve will continue to experience the late night and early morning smoke.  Smoke levels typically begin to increase in those areas beginning about 9:00 p.m. and peaking at 6:00 a.m., when they become unhealthy for sensitive groups.  Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures such as leaving windows closed.  For more information on air quality and health impacts due to wildfire smoke, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health website at Smoke concentration data is available at:


Fire Information Links: Fire information can be found at and  For information on the Gila National Forest, please visit


Fire Information: (602) 529-5924                                                 Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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Twitter: @GilaNForest                                                                 Email:

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