Ignitions Complete, Firefighters Securing Containment Lines

Name: Francisquito

Date detected: July 13

Cause: Lightning

Location: Carson NF, El Rito Ranger District, near FR 44 and FR 123

Size: 2021 Acres

Growth Potential: Moderate

Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Mixed Conifer

The Francisquito Fire, located on the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, is now approximately 2000 acres in size.  Yesterday’s operations were successful.  Roughly an additional 1000 acres were treated, completing ignitions for this fire.  By using a predetermined area and expanding this fire area through ground and aerial ignitions throughout, managers actually significantly decreased the duration of the fire, thereby reducing the risk to firefighters.  The primary goal on the Francisquito fire will now be to secure all existing containment lines.

Smoke impacts today will be greatly reduced as all the ignitions have been completed.  Some smoke will still be visible as unburned pockets continue to smolder and creep around within the designated perimeters.  Firefighters continue to ensure that the Francisquito fire poses no danger to any values or infrastructure within the area.

The Francisquito Fire provided Carson National Forest officials a great opportunity to use a natural, lightning-caused fire to work within a fire-adapted ecosystem to reduce fuel loading, which under different circumstances could have contributed to the spread of wildfire.  Using the current tactics (ignitions in a predetermined area following a natural start) not only helped reduce firefighter exposure but it also provided many opportunities to improve forest health by protecting the important values in the area including private property, wildlife habitat, range values and vital watersheds to area communities.

The Type 3 organization will transition to a Type 4 organization tomorrow morning.  This means many of the current resources on the fire will be released today to travel back to their home units or be reassigned to other fires.  A total of 117 personnel remain as of this morning.

Smoke continues to be visible from surrounding communities including Taos, Peñasco, Española, Abiquiu, and El Rito areas. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with heart or respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. For information on air quality and protecting your health, please visit https://nmtracking.org/fire. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://facnm.org/smoke/ or contact the El Rito Ranger District 575-581-4554.


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