Gila NF – Apache Fire – Update for September 10, 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: ~150-160 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. Fire growth remains primarily to the southeast, with some growth upslope towards the east.  Smoke during the day is expected to move to the northeast towards Sand Flats and smoke modeling results consistently are indicating that emissions could settle along Highway 32.  The low-pressure systems have brought some moisture which has slowed fire growth.  Fire managers anticipate that once it becomes hot and dry again that the fire will continue to spread.

Fire crews continue to monitor the fire behavior and growth, scout roads, and assess the need for area closures.  A 10-person wildland fire module and the seven-person NM State engine are on scene and are continuing with the scouting and assessment of unit boundaries. 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.  For more information on this fire go to Inciweb

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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