Carson NF-Montoya Springs Fire– September 6, 2019

Northern New Mexico Type 3 Incident Management Team

Jamie Long – Incident Commander

Fire Information: (575) 684-2489

Montoya Springs Fire– September 6, 2019

Date detected: Thursday, August 29

Size: 1,850 acres

Cause: Lightning

Location: Carson NF, Canjilon Ranger District, 2 miles east of the community of Canjilon, NM

Vegetation: Oak brush, grass, ponderosa pine, piñon and juniper

Resources: One Type 3 helicopter, five Type 6 engines, one Hotshot crew and miscellaneous overhead

Current Status: The Montoya Springs Fire increased to 1,850 acres after firefighters utilized aerial ignitions within the old 2002 Montoya Fire burn scar yesterday. Today firefighters will continue interior aerial ignitions and hand ignitions along the northwest edge of the fire to secure the perimeter.

Fire managers are meeting objectives of improving the ecosystem by eliminating overgrown oak brush and dead and down fuels that have accumulated on the forest floor. Allowing fire to consume dense fuels will reduce risk to firefighters responding to incidents within the Montoya Springs area in the future. New starts will burn at a lower intensity with less fuel built up which provides a safer work environment for responding crews.

The desired result of the Montoya Springs fire is a mosaic of fire effects. Under the right conditions, fire helps break down nutrients and minerals in plants and other debris such as old logs and dense undergrowth and restores them to the soil. Nutrients are created by the recycling of burned material which enriches soils and stimulates growth. New grasses, shrubs, and trees replenish and grow stronger. Wildlife habitats are improved and an increase in forage becomes available.

Visitors should use caution when traveling along the Continental Divide Trail going north from Highway 84 to Forest Road 559 as fire crews continue to work in the area. Hikers are highly encouraged to seek alternative routes on this section in the next few days as fire operations continue and smoke increases. The Montoya Springs Fire poses no danger to structures or local infrastructure. Firefighter and public safety are the number one priority.

Smoke will increase as ignitions continue today and may be visible from Canjilon, Placita Garcia, US Highway 84 and NM State Highway 115. Smoke may settle in drainages overnight and should disperse by mid-morning. 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, visit https://nmtracking.org/fire. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. Unauthorized use of manned and unmanned aircraft (also known as “drones”) in a fire area endangers the lives of pilots and firefighters and is strictly forbidden.

For more fire information visit InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6563/.

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