Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands – Roberts Fire Acreage Remains at 2,332 Acres

Magdalena, NM; July 21, 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 remains at 2,332 acres. There are approximately 128 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 continued yesterday on the fire, as the fire acreage and activity remained the same due to drier fuels and a more active fire perimeter. Containment lines are expected to be completed by end of shift on Sunday.

A transfer of command for the Roberts Fire is expected to occur on Monday, July 22, 2019 at 0800 back to the local district with an ICT4 taking command of the fire. Operational focus is expected to transition to monitoring of the fire perimeter. Many resources are expected to be demobbed from the fire.

A temporary Area Closure Order remains in effect 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 an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity, with some drying out followed with gusty erratic winds as a low level moisture pattern begin to develop Saturday night into Sunday.  Chance of wetting rain will be possible over the central mountain chain on Sunday.  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 https://nmfireinfo.com , https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6441/ Twitter:@Cibola_NF, and http://www.facebook.com/cibolanf

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