Specialists Improve Weather and Fire Behavior Predictions on Vics Peak Fire

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 9,293 acres (3% contained), with 191 personnel assigned.

Firefighters have been anticipating the critical fire weather conditions forecast for today. A Long-Term Analyst has been working with crews on the ground and in the air to model and predict fire behavior for this incident. Combining field observations, climatological data, weather observations, and other information, improved fire behavior predictions have greatly contributed to the operational planning of suppression activities. Localized weather forecasting for the fire area has also been provided by an Incident Meteorologist. These resources were used in strategic operational planning for firing operations along ridgetops and containment lines conducted in the last few days to moderate fire behavior, lower the chance of high severity fire, and protect values at risk.

Weather: Critical fire weather is expected over the fire today. A large, low-pressure system will approach causing increased southwest winds and drying conditions across west central New Mexico. Dry, unstable, windy conditions will result in Red Flag Warnings for the fire area today. Relative humidity will fall into the teens, winds will increase to 20-30 mph with higher gusts over ridges, and the high will be ~83°F.

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. Medical teams have been placed near all crew camps and operational work areas to support firefighters.The public is reminded to avoid the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) near wildfires (https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/uas/if-you-fly).

Smoke: Smoke over the fire area has been moderate and 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 http://nmtracking.org/fire.

Closures: A 10-miletemporary flight restriction remains in place around San Mateo Peak for the safety of all aircraft and ground resources. Forest Road 225, Springtime Campground, Luna Park Campground, and the following trails leading into Apache Kid Wilderness remain 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. There is currently a ~3-mile temporary road closure in place through Tuesday on Forest Road 330 (Rosedale road) between Rosedale and the turn-off to Grassy Lookout. A road crew will improve the road for firefighter and public safety.

Vics Peak Fire Information: 505-933-5682, 2020.vicspeak@firenet.gov

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6788/

New Mexico Fire Information: www.nmfireinfo.com

Facebook: Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands (@cibolanf) https://www.facebook.com/cibolanf/

Twitter: Cibola NF&Grasslands; (@Cibola_NF) https://twitter.com/cibola_nf?lang=en

Location: San Mateo Mountains

Date Reported: 6/15/2020

Cause: Lightning

Size: 9,293 acres

Percent Contained: 3 %

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

Resources assigned: 1 Type 3 Incident Management Team, 8 Type 6 Engines, 1 Interagency Hotshot Crew, 4 Type 2 Initial Attack Crews, 1 Wildland Fire Module, 1 Air Attack, 2 Type 3 Helicopters, Road Crew, Fireline Paramedics, 2 Rapid Extraction Modules, 1 Medical Screening Team, 1 Medical Decontamination Team.

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