East Mountain Fire Update 6/3/2020- Lincoln National Forest- Smokey Bear Ranger District

Incident Name: East Mountain Fire 

Jurisdiction: Lincoln National Forest, Smokey Bear Ranger District

Size: 3 acres

Cause: Lightning     

Date Detected: June 2, 2020

Location: Capitan Mountain Wilderness Area on the south side of the mountain

Fuel Type:  Pinyon-Juniper and dead and down trees remaining from the Pepin Fire in 2004.

Values at Risk: Private Land

Fire Update 6/3/20: The East Mountain Fire burning on the southside of the Capitan Mountains grew by just one acre overnight and is holding at three acres. Last night two single-engine air tankers dropped fire retardant adjacent to the fire, which is burning in primarily pinyon-juniper vegetation and dead and down logs leftover from the Peppin Fire in 2004. Mother nature also lent a helping hand, as the fire received rain last night.

This morning the fire is burning with low intensity and is not producing much smoke. However, as wind conditions change throughout the day and week, smoke may be visible from Highway 220, Airport Road, and surrounding communities. The low intensity and the relatively small size will allow fire personnel to work to fully suppress this fire over the coming days. One engine, one helicopter, and additional fire resources totaling 10 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. There are no structures or other values in immediate danger.

Upon initial detection yesterday, the fire was thought to be burning in the wilderness area of the Capitan Mountain, however, after a reconnaissance mission, the fire was located just outside the boundary of the wilderness area near Bills Canyon.

The incident commander flew over the fire this morning and decided on a full suppression strategy to contain this fire. Every wildfire response is based on a careful evaluation of public and firefighter safety and risks to other important values. Additionally, preventing the spread of COVID-19 among our first responders and communities is an important addition to our focus on safety this year.

The Capitan Mountains are no stranger to wildfire. The mountain range is most well-known for the fire in 1950 where the living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey Bear, was found with burned paws. Sixteen years ago, the Peppin Fire burned approximately 67,000 acres and last year on the north side of the mountain, the Pine Lodge fire scorched over 15,000 acres.

Another fire update can be expected tomorrow mid-morning.

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