Gila NF – Apache Fire, September 5, 2019


  • The southwest slope of Apache Mountain, on National Forest System Lands, Quemado Ranger District, Gila National Forest, Catron County, NM

Incident Start Date:  September 4, 2019           Size: ~10-15 acres

Cause:  Lightning           Percent Contained:  0                IC:  Gabe Castanon ICT4

Summary:  The Apache Fire was reported on Wednesday, September 4. It is located on the southwest slope of Apache Mountain, at approximately 8,500 feet elevation.  The fire is located in very steep, 90-100% slope, inaccessible terrain.   The fire is currently burning in mixed conifer and ponderosa pine with heavy amounts of down and dead material. Due to the extremely steep terrain and the desire to minimize firefighter exposure, fire managers are assessing options to confine and contain the fire in terrain where the probability of success is high.

The plan for today is to monitor the fire behavior and growth, scout roads, and assess the need for area closures.  There is a potential for precipitation this weekend.  Due to fire location and vegetation, it is burning in, a considerable amount of moisture will be needed to put the fire out.  It is anticipated the Apache Fire will be a long-duration event.

Firefighter and public safety remain the highest priority. There are currently no values at risk in the immediate fire area. This fire is highly visible from NM Hwy 12, the communities of Apache Creek, Reserve, Quemado, Pie Town, and the San Francisco Divide area. 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.

Smoke from fire rises during the daytime, but in the evening can pool down in canyons, drainages, and basins. For information on air quality and protecting your health, and to find guidance on distance and visibility, please visit

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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