Suppression Strategy on Vics Peak Fire Focused on Safety

Magdalena, NM – For Immediate Release – The lightning-caused Vics Peak Fire, burning on the Magdalena Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest since June 15, has grown to an estimated 6,729 acres, with 121 personnel assigned. The slight decrease in acreage from yesterday is due to improved mapping. Yesterday, the fire received gusty winds and downdrafts from thunderstorms with little rain. Crews will continue scouting containment lines north of the fire today and hold containment lines currently in place.

This fire presents a unique challenge for firefighters, being located almost entirely within a designated Wilderness while also in close proximity to private lands and utilities. The terrain is rugged and remote, with limited road access. The suppression strategy was collaboratively chosen by the Forest Service, New Mexico State Forestry, and the Albuquerque Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team and emphasizes protecting values at risk (VARs) while keeping firefighter safety at the forefront of operations. For this reason, suppression efforts have used a combination of tactics such as application of fire retardant and water to slow fire spread, aerial and hand ignitions to moderate/lessen fire behavior and create protection buffers around VARs, and containment lines to stop fire progression. Air operations will continue to be used due to the difficulty and safety risks associated with accessing remote areas with ground resources.

Weather: Skies will be fairly clear in the morning, but another round of showers and thunderstorms is expected to develop by the early afternoon, which will bring more gusty and erratic winds. Chance of precipitation will be 40% after noon. Temperatures and humidity will be similar to Tuesday. Drier southwest breezes will keep thunderstorms from developing Thursday.

Safety: Safety of the public and firefighters is always the top priority in wildland fire operations. Vics Peak Fire operations include best management practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within firefighter crews/operations and within the general public.The public is reminded to avoid the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) near wildfires ( Know Before You Fly!

Smoke: Smoke will continue to be visible from I-25, NM-1, and NM-107. The Forest Service will coordinate with the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the New Mexico Environment Department and Department of Health to issue any needed alerts. Additional information can be found at

Closures: A 5-mile temporary flight restriction remains in place over the fire. Forest Road 225, Springtime Campground, Luna Park Campground, and the following trails leading into Apache Kid Wilderness are currently closed to the public: Apache Kid, Teepe Peak, Cowboy, Smith, Drift Fence, Milo, Nave, Coffee Pot, Post, Cold Spring, Maverick, San Mateo, Skeleton Ridge, Indian Creek, and Shipman.

Vics Peak Fire Information: 505-933-5682,


New Mexico Fire Information:

Facebook: Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands (@cibolanf)

Twitter: Cibola NF&Grasslands; (@Cibola_NF)

Location: San Mateo Mountains

Date Reported: 6/15/2020

Cause: Lightning

Size: 6,729

Percent Contained: 5%

Fuel: Mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, pinyon/juniper, mahogany


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