Lincoln National Forest -Sacramento Ranger District- Middle Fire Update: Sept 5, 2019

Incident Name – Middle Fire

Jurisdiction: Sacramento Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest

Size: 20 Acres

Cause: Lightning

Date Detected: August 31, 2019

Location: 8 miles southeast of Weed, NM between the towns of Weed and Duncan.

Lat/Long: Example: 32°46’12.25″N 105°21’41.41W

Legal Description: T18S, R15E, SESW Sec 1

Firefighting Resources: 4 engine crews

Fuel Type:  Ponderosa pine, Grass understory

Values at Risk: None

Fire Update 9/5/2019: Fire crews made excellent progress during today’s operations on the Middle Fire, located 10 miles southeast of Mayhill, NM on the Sacramento Ranger District. Favorable weather conditions allowed the Middle Fire to slowly burn through dead and down trees and grass at the bottom of Middle Canyon. Fire crews conducted burnout operations along Forest Service Road 176B to secure the fire to the west. Fire intensity has been low to moderate. Wildfires like the Middle Fire play an essential role as a natural disturbance that reduces excess forest fuels and decreases the likelihood of severe fire in the future.

The Middle Fire is in an ideal location with no homes, infrastructure, or other values at risk. During a low-intensity fire, wildlife in the area fly, walk, or burrow out of harm’s way during active burning, but typically stay close by. Many animals are fire-adapted and rely on periodic fire to renew the varied habitats on which they depend. After a fire, many animals like to forage along the edges of burned areas. Fire also increases food availability by stimulating seed production.

Smoke was first reported on August 31, 2019. After a substantial search, forest crews located the lightning-caused fire September 3, 2019.

While there is no planned end date for the wildfire, forest managers have established a planning area where the fire will be allowed to grow. Weather conditions and terrain will be significant factors in long-term activity and rain is expected early next week.

Smoke Info:  Smoke is likely to be visible over the coming days from Mayhill, Pinyon, Weed, Duncan, and Sacramento. Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page for information on protecting your health during fires and on smoky days:  https://nmtracking.org/fire.

PIO: Laura Rabon, 505-505-681-2837 laura.rabon@usda.gov

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