Final Lava 18 Fire Update Unless Significant Events Occur

Lava 18 Fire Interagency News Release

For Immediate Release

September 11, 2019

Contact:  Ernie Price, 505-285-4641 ext. 18,

Final Lava 18 Fire Update Unless Significant Events Occur

Grants, NM The lightning-ignited Lava 18 Fire is approximately 2,070 acres (858 ac on the National Park Service (NPS) El Malpais National Monument and 1,212 acres on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) El Malpais National Conservation area). This will be the final update unless significant events occur.

The fire transitioned to a smaller, local Type 4 organization on Monday afternoon, September 9. Three engines continue to monitor and patrol existing roads, trails, and handlines along the fire perimeter and adjacent to private lands and natural and cultural values at risk. Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire where it is playing its natural role in the ecosystem and take action as needed to protect private land and sensitive natural and cultural resources in the area as needed.

Higher relative humidity and rainfall received over the fire area earlier this week significantly reduced fire behavior and smoke production. Limited fire growth is expected unless significant drying occurs. Pockets of heat, especially in heavy dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, will continue to smolder until extinguished naturally by significant precipitation.

This fire is playing an important role maintaining a healthy forest and ensuring the resiliency of this fire dependent landscape. It is creating a mosaic of burned and unburned vegetation, which increases habitat diversity and breaks up continuous fuels on the forest floor (branches, fallen trees, etc.) which can help limit or slow the intensity and spread of large wildfires and associated smoke in the future.

The Lava 18 Fire is located approximately 19 miles southwest of Grants, NM. Cooperators include New Mexico State Forestry, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Forest service. The lightning-ignited fire was reported on August 22, 2019. Vegetation in the area consists mostly of ponderosa pine and mixed grasses, with some Douglas fir, piñon, and juniper in places.

Fire information is available on and

Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at


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