Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands – Strategic Firing Operations on Roberts Fire Increases Acreage to 2,332 Acres

Magdalena, NM; July 20, 2019 – The Roberts Fire, in the Apache Kid Wilderness in the San Mateo Mountains, located on the Magdalena Ranger District, is a lightning caused fire that began July 13, 2019.  The fire perimeter has grown to 2,332 acres. There are approximately 132 personnel assigned.  Resources include three Wildland Fire Modules, two Inmate Work Crews from New Mexico State Forestry, two Type 6 Engines, and one Type 3 Helicopter.

The fire continues to burn in Ponderosa Pine, mixed-conifer, grass, and brush in steep, terrain with limited access.  Fire behavior is moderate in intensity with occasional flanking, backing and wind driven runs when slope and wind align along ridge lines.  Pre-determined management areas have been and will continue to be identified as the fire continues to burn, so that it can be kept within established boundaries.

In order to reduce firefighter exposure, fire managers are utilizing a values-driven strategy which incorporates a mix of tactics when and where the probability of success is high and the risk is acceptable in relationship to values while meeting land management objectives.  Additional management actions will be further determined by fire activity, weather, and the progression of the fire, with the objective of returning fire back into the ecosystem.  Successful strategic firing operations were conducted yesterday on the fire, increasing overall fire acreage and activity within the fire perimeter. Fire activity is predicted to increase throughout the night due to lower relative humidity, drier fuels and a more active fire perimeter.

A temporary Area Closure Order has been issued for public use. National Forest System lands, roads, trails, and campgrounds within the closure area are closed including, but not limited to:  FR 86 from the northern National Forest boundary to the southern intersection with FR 225, FR 225 from the eastern National Forest boundary to the west and then south to Luna Park; FR 377 (Burma Road) from Township 9 South, Range 6 West, Section 34 to the north and then west to the National Forest boundary; FR 140 to the northern National Forest boundary; and FR 478 (West Red Canyon Road) north and east to National Forest boundaries.  Trail Closures are: Forest Trails 28, 31, 43, 44, 45, 49, 50, 61, 68, 69, 81, 87, and 90 and associated trailheads.  Campground Closures are: Springtime Campground and Luna Park Campgrounds and Apache Kid Wilderness area.

The weather forecast for this weekend calls for continued hot and dry conditions with a chance of isolated to scattered storms over the central mountain chain.  Storms will likely be more dry than wet. Relief from the heat and storm coverage should arrive Sunday, with a cold front swinging through eastern New Mexico.  Early next week calls for an increase in afternoon thunderstorms throughout the region.   Smoke is visible from New Mexico 52, New Mexico 107, and U.S. Highway 60 west of Magdalena, NM and I-25 south of Socorro, NM.  Please use caution when driving I-25 south of Socorro, NM  at mile post 107 (Nogal Canyon) has smoke settling onto roadway from the Roberts Fire. Visibility may be low at times. New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) has highway “Road Advisory” signs posted.

For more information about the Roberts Fire, please contact the Magdalena Ranger District during regular business hours at 575-854-2281.  You may also visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at , Twitter:@Cibola_NF, and


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: