Lincoln National Forest: Dark Canyon Fire Update August 6, 2020

Small flames move across the forest floor.

The Dark Canyon Fire is consuming needle litter, branches and logs on the forest floor.

Incident Name: Dark Canyon Fire

Jurisdiction: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest

Size: 30 acres

Cause: Lightning

Date/Time Detected: August 4, 2020 at 4:30pm

Location: 9 miles northwest of Capitan, NM north of Tuscon Mountain near Dark Canyon.

Lat/Long: 33°40’0.16″N 105°37’42.61″W

Fuel Type: Grass, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, dead and down forest debris

Values at Risk: Private Land

Smoke from the Dark Canyon Fire rises above the mountains

When wet vegetation burns it produces larger amounts of white smoke, like the smoke seen here from the Dark Canyon Fire on the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.

Fire Update:  The Dark Canyon Fire which was ignited by a lightning strike on the Smokey Bear Ranger District on August 4 has grown to 30 acres. Firefighting resources using a confine and contain strategy, are working to establish containment lines that will hold fire growth to a defined area. The fire is in a remote part of the forest and there are no structures at risk. Crews will continue working the next several days securing and holding containment lines, in some cases using firing operations.

Smoke may be seen from Highway 380 and Highway 246 as firefighters conduct firing operations. Possible fire fuels in the area are grass, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and forest debris. Recent monsoonal rains have increased fuel moisture. Wet vegetation and forest debris, like that in the fire area, tend to produce a larger amount of white smoke that will likely linger over the fire area due to the light winds.



Fires are a natural component of the landscape. Throughout history, low-intensity fires, like the Dark Canyon Fire, removed dead vegetation from the forest floor while simultaneously returning nutrients to the soil via ash, which is rich in phosphorus and nitrogen. Fire is a tool that improves forest health, reduces hazardous collections of vegetation, and enhances wildlife habitat.

Fire updates will occur every other day on the Dark Canyon Fire until no longer warranted. 

PIO: Laura Rabon, 505-681-2837

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