Gila National Forest – Bear Fire & Skid Fire – Update for July 11, 2019

Bear Fire

The lightning-caused Bear Fire is approximately 45 acres, burning on National Forest System lands on the Black Range Ranger District, Sierra County, NM. This fire was reported on July 9 and is burning in Indian Peaks in an area that had prescribed fire last year. This fire is demonstrating low to moderate fire behavior.  Crews have been working in the field prepping around range improvements.  They were also doing small burn out operations on the northwest, north, and northeast to create a buffer between the fire and the El Paso Electric lines. Reminder: Burnout operations put up a great deal of smoke.


Skid Fire

The lightning-caused Skid Fire is approximately 15 acres, burning on National Forest System lands in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. This fire was discovered on July 10. This fire is ½ mile south of Morgan Creek. This fire is demonstrating low fire behavior.  This fire will be visible to the community of Winston, Truth or Consequences, and along the I-25 corridor north and south of Truth or Consequences.  In the evening hours the fire will appear both larger and closer than it actually is due to the inability to reference its size to any physical landmarks.  The fire is currently being monitored from the Hillsboro Peak Lookout.  Fire Management is trying to minimize exposure to firefighters by not placing them in a high risk environment.  They will allow the fire to transition to the east if it backs down slope towards an area along the FSR 157 corridor that is a much safer area to place firefighters.


Summary: Aerial and visual reconnaissance has shown that these naturally-ignited fires are doing good things for the land. These fires are in a monitor status using lookouts and aerial reconnaissance. These fires are all exhibiting low to moderate effects, cleaning up dead and down trees, and debris from previous fires, and reducing ladder and surface fuels. These fires will continue to reduce hazardous fuels accumulation and improve resiliency to wildfires and insect outbreaks during drought years.


Smoke from fire rises during the daytime, but in the evening can pool down in canyons, drainages, and basins, and we expect there may be smoke visible in Kingston, Hillsboro, and Truth or Consequences. For information on air quality and protecting your health, and to find guidance on distances and visibility, please visit monitors are set up in Winston and Mimbres.  Live tracking can be found at  for smoke monitor units USFS1054, and USFS1036 Fire information can be found at 


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