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

Containment: 48%

Vegetation: Transitional moving up Mangas Mountain from piñon-juniper grasslands to ponderosa pine, and 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, 240 total personnel.

Incident Commander: Dave Gesser, IC2

Fire Activity: Fire activity over the last 24 hours has diminished, however, smoke was visible during the afternoon as winds and dryer air moved into the area.

Summary: Aided by Monday afternoon and evening’s rainfall, firefighters made significant progress on the Elk Fire Tuesday. Humidity from the night’s rains kept fire activity low until midday when diminished humidity and warm winds allowed fire activity to increase. Crews held existing lines and continued to monitor and prepare contingency lines in the event burnouts are needed to check eastward movement of the fire as fuels dry out.

The Elk fire remains entirely 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.

Monitoring for sleeping lightning ignited additional fires from last night’s electrical activity continues as the weather becomes warmer and dry for the remainder of the week.

As fire activity decreases, some resources will be released to other assignments. Fire managers will maintain sufficient number of engines and crews to continue to monitor the fire, assess, and take needed actions should the fire attempt to become active. Plans are in place to take management action in case new ignitions are discovered.

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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