Aerial Ignitions to Occur on Triple Nickle Fire

Grants, NM; August 22, 2019 – For Immediate Release. The Triple Nickle Fire located in the San Mateo Mountains, on the Mt. Taylor Ranger District is a lightning caused fire that is being managed to meet multiple resource objectives. The fire has grown to an estimated 387 acres with approximately 100 personnel assigned.

In order to reduce firefighter exposure, fire managers are utilizing a values-driven strategy which incorporates a mix of tactics that will result in a high probability of success and acceptable risk in relationship to the values being protected while meeting land management objectives. Further management actions will be determined by fire activity, weather, and the progression of the fire. Fire behavior is low to moderate and burning in Ponderosa Pine, grass, and brush. Management of the fire promotes forest health and resilience while reducing the potential for future uncharacteristic wildfires.

Along with natural growth, firefighters are assisting the fire’s progression with hand and aerial ignitions. Aerial ignitions utilize helicopters to dispense what look like combustible ping pong balls onto the burn area. The use of aerial ignitions allows fire managers to cover a lot of ground, shortening the duration of smoke impacts and exposure to ground resources.

Smoke will likely be visible from Highway 550 and Interstate 40, east and northeast of Grants. Smoke impacts may occur on Forest Roads #555, #239, and #51, particularly in the evening hours when temperatures cool. Smoke will be monitored to assess potential health impacts and the Forest Service will coordinate with the New Mexico Environment Department and Department of Health to issue any needed alerts. Additional information can be found at

For more information about the Triple Nickle Fire, please contact the Mt. Taylor Ranger District during regular business hours at 505-287-8833. You may also visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at,, Twitter:@Cibola_NF, and

Triple Nickle Fire Statistics

Size: 387 acres
Location: near the junction of Forest Service Road 239 and 555
Cause: Lightning
Expected size: 1000 to 3000 acres, depending on weather

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: