Gila National Forest – Elk Fire June 14, 2019 – Quemado Ranger District

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

Start Date:  June 6, 2019

Size: ~ 1158

Cause: Lightning

Containment: 48%

Vegetation: Transitional, moving up Mangas Mountain from piñon-juniper grasslands through ponderosa pine, into dry mixed conifer, and finally to wet mixed conifer and aspen.

Resources: One Type 3 helicopter, 2 IHC (Hotshot)crews, 1 Wildland Fire Module, 4 Type 6 engines, various overhead resources, 189 total personnel.

Incident Commander: Dave Gesser, IC2

Summary: The Elk fire is burning on National Forest System lands and a small portion of private land, approximately 23 miles southeast of Quemado, New Mexico. The fire is burning in remote and rugged terrain,

Dry weather, warmer temperatures, and early arriving gusty winds increased fire activity Thursday. Fire managers were unable to complete planned early morning ignitions, instead using the day to patrol for hazards, improve control features, and monitor hotspots. Travelers along NM Highway 12 were able to observe increased smoke the entire day.

Today our incident meteorologist has forecast elevated wind, single digit relative humidity, and high temperatures; ideal conditions for fire spread. The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch, one step below red flag conditions. Fire managers will continually assess conditions and deploy crews and engines appropriate to monitor, patrol, and hold existing lines.

Saturday’s forecast indicates much better conditions for fire operations.

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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