Gila National Forest – Elk Fire June 11, 2019 – Quemado Ranger District

Location: southeast of Mangas Mountain, Quemado Ranger District, Catron County, NM

Start Date:  June 6, 2019           Size: ~660 acres                       Cause: Lightning

Vegetation: Transitional moving up Mangas Mountain from pinyon juniper grasslands to ponderosa pine, to dry mixed conifer to wet mixed conifer with aspen.

Resources: Two Type 3 helicopters, 4 IHC (Hotshot)crews, 2 Type 2 IA Crews, 1 Wildland Fire Module, various overhead resources, 173 total personnel.

Incident Commander: Dave Gesser, IC2

Fire Activity: Fire activity over the last 24 hours has been low to moderate intensity, with dead fallen trees and brush piles burning. Late afternoon showers diminished fire behavior.

Summary: The Elk Fire continues to burn on National Forest System lands approximately 23 miles southeast of Quemado, New Mexico. The fire burns in remote and rugged terrain, with rocky, steep slopes, deep drainages and lava rock surrounded by grass and piñon-juniper.

Crews made great progress Monday, conducting burn out operations on the south side of the fire and constructed contingency lines to protect private lands on the eastern edge of the fire. Contingency work occurred as well to clear defensible space around communications facilities and historic lookout on Mangas Mountain. Late afternoon and evening rain, accompanied by significant lightning, was observed over the fire. Fire activity diminished but generated concern for new starts later in the week as a forecasted drying trend occurs.

Crews today will continue to improve lines and assess whether rain will allow direct strategies or to continue to use appropriate suppression activities to achieve the highest probability of success.

Crews are poised to respond to initial response for anticipated lightning ignitions.

For information on air quality and protecting your health, and to find guidance on distances and visibility, please visit Fire information can be found at and Inciweb at

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at or join the conversation on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GilaNForest.


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