National Park Service Firefighters Monitoring Lightning Ignited Wildfires in El Malpais National Monument

Grants, NM – National Park Service Superintendent Mitzi Frank announced that four lightning caused fires are being managed within El Malpais National Monument. All four fires are surrounded by lava fields and burning within ponderosa forests with needles and grassy vegetation.

The Lola Fire is located in the southeast corner of El Malpais National Monument west of Highway 117. It is estimated to be approximately 0.5 acres, and has received several rain showers this past week. No heat has been detected for the past three days and it is anticipated that this fire will be called out in the next few days.

The Paint Can and Knob Fires are east of County Road 42 and in the southwest portion of the monument. Both fires are approximately 160 acres each and are expected to grow together in the next couple of days. Fire behavior has consisted of backing and flanking fire with slow rates of spread and one to two foot flame lengths. The Lee Fire was a single tree snag that was fully suppressed and has been called out.

Two New Mexico State Forestry firefighting crews, the Apache Kid Fire Use Module (U.S. Forest Service), and one individual from the Bureau of Indian Affairs are assisting the National Park Service with managing these fires.

Numerous thunderstorms have been occurring in the area however the Paint Can and Knob Fires have not received significant moisture. Some moisture has occurred in the immediate area and higher relative humidity are allowing these fires to meet resource management objectives. It is anticipated that thunderstorm activity will continue in the near future and that thunderstorm activity will moderate fire behavior.

Smoke may be visible along County Road 42 and Hwy 117. At this time there are no trail restrictions or road closures. For more information, please contact Kevin Parrish, 505-285-4641, extension 35.

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